I know that many people on LessWrong want nothing to do with "neoreaction."  It does seem strange that a website commonly associated with techno-futurism, such as LessWrong, would end up with even the most tangential networked association with an intellectual current, such as neoreaction, that commonly includes nostalgia for absolute monarchies and other avatistic obessions.


Perhaps blame it on Yvain, AKA Scott Alexander of slatestarcodex.com for attaching this strange intellectual node to LessWrong. ; ) That's at least how I found out about neoreaction, and I doubt that I am alone in this.


Certainly many on LessWrong would view any association with "neoreaction" as a Greek gift to be avoided. I understand the concept of keeping "well-kept gardens" and of politics being the "mind-killer," although some at LessWrong have argued that some of the most important questions humanity will face in the next decades will be questions that are unavoidably "political" in nature. Yes, "politics is hard mode," but so is life itself, and you don't get better at hard mode without practicing in hard mode.


LessWrong proclaims itself as a community devoted to refining the art of rationality. One aspect of the art of rationality is locating the true sources of disagreement between two parties who want to communicate with each other, but who can't help but talk past each other in different languages due to having radically different pre-existing assumptions.


I believe that this is the problem that any discourse between neoreaction and progressivism currently faces.


Even if you have no interest at all in neoreaction or progressivism as ideologies, I invite you to read this analysis as a case study in locating sources of disagreement between ideologies that have different unspoken assumptions. I will try to steelman neoreaction as much as I can, despite the fact that I am more sympathetic to the progressivist point of view.


In particular, I am interested in the following question:  to what extent do neoreactionary and progressive disagreements stem from judgments that merely differ in degree?  (For example, being slightly more or less pessimistic about X, Y, and Z propositions).  Or to what extent do neoreactionary and progressive disagreements stem from assumptions that are qualitatively different?


Normative vs. descriptive assumptions

"Normative" statements are "ought" statements, or judgments of value. "Descriptive" statements are "is" statements, or depictions of reality. While neoreaction and progressivism have a lot of differing descriptive assumptions, there is really only one fundamental normative disagreement, which I will address first.


Normative disagreement #1: Progressivism's subjective values vs. Neoreaction's objective[?] values

As I see it, Progressivism says, "Our subjective values are worth pursuing in and of themselves just because it makes us feel good. It does not particularly matter where our values come from. Perhaps we are Cartesian dualists—unmoved movers with free will—who invent our values in an act of existential creation. Or perhaps our values are biological programming—spandrels manufactured by Nature, or as the neoreactionaries personify it, "Gnon." It doesn't matter. In principle, if we could rewire our reward circuits to give us pleasure/fun/novelty/happiness/sadness/tragedy/suffering/whatever we desire* in response to whatever Nature had the automatic (or modified) disposition to offer us, then those good feelings would be just as worthwhile as anything else. (This is why neoreactionaries perceive progressive values as "nihilistic.")


According to this formulation, most LessWrongers, being averse to wireheading in principle, are not full-fledged progressives at this most fundamental level.  (Perhaps this explains some of the counter-intuitive overlap between the LessWrong and neoreactionary thoughtsphere....) 


[Editorial:  In my view, coming to terms with the obvious benefit of wireheading is the ultimate "red pill" to swallow. I am a progressive who would happily wirehead as long as I had concluded beforehand that I had adequately secured its completely automatic perpetuation even in the absence of any further input from me...although an optional override to shut it down and return me to the non-wireheaded state would not be unwelcome, just in case I had miscalculated and found that the system did not attend to my every wish as anticipated.]


*Note that I am aware that our subjective values are complex and that we are "Godshatter." Nevertheless, this does not seem to me to be a fundamental impediment to wireheading. In principle, we should be able to dissect every last little bit of this "Godshatter" and figure out exactly what we want in all of its diversity...and then we can start designing a system of wireheading to give it to us. Is this not what Friendly AI is all about? Doesn't Friendly AI = Wireheading Done "Right"? Alternatively, we could re-wire ourselves to not be Godshatter, and to have a very simple list of things that would make us feel good. I am open to either one. LessWrongers, being neoreactionaries at heart (see below), would insist on maintaining our human complexity, our Godshatter values, and making our wireheading laboriously work around that. Okay, fine. I'll compromise...as long as I get my wireheading in some form. ; )


Neoreaction says, "There is objective value in the principle of "perpetuating biological and/or civilizational complexity" itself*; the best way to perpetuate biological and/or civilizational complexity is to "serve Gnon" (i.e. devote our efforts to fulfilling nature's pre-requisites for perpetuating our biologial and/or civilizational complexity); our subjective values are spandrels manufactured by natural selection/Gnon; insofar as our subjective values motivate us to serve Gnon and thereby ensure the perpetuation of biological and/or civilizational complexity, our subjective values are useful. (For example, natural selection makes sex a subjective value by making it pleasurable, which then motivates us to perpetuate our biological complexity). But, insofar as our subjective values mislead us from serving Gnon (such as by making non-procreative sex still feel good) and jeopardize our biological/civilizational perpetuation, we must sacrifice our subjective values for the objective good of perpetuating our biological/civilizational complexity" (such as by buckling down and having procreative sex even if one would personally rather not enjoy raising kids).


*Note that different NRx thinkers might have different definitions about what counts as biological or civilizational "complexity" worthy of perpetuating...it could be "Western Civilization," "the White Race," "Homo sapiens," "one's own genetic material," "intelligence, whether encoded in human brains or silicon AI," "human complexity/Godshatter," etc. This has led to the so-called "neoreactionary trichotomy"—3 wings of the neoreactionary movement: Christian traditionalists, ethno-nationalists, and techno-commercialists. 


Most LessWrongers probably agree with neoreactionaries on this fundamental normative assumption, with the typical objective good of LessWrongers being "human complexity/Godshatter," and thus the "techno-commercialist" wing of neoreaction being the one that typically finds the most interest among LessWrongers.


[Editorial:  pesumably, each neoreactionary is choosing his/her objective target of allegiance (such as "Western Civilization") because of the warm fuzzies that the idea elicits in him/herself. Has it ever occurred to neoreactionaries that humans' occasional predilection for being awed by a system bigger than themselves (such as "Western Civilization") and sacrificing for that system is itself a "mere" evolutionary spandrel?]


Now, in an attempt to steelman neoreaction's normative assumption, I would characterize it thus: "In the most ultimate sense, neoreactionaries find the pursuit of subjective values just as worthwhile as progressives do. However, neoreactionaries are aware that human beings are short-sighted creatures with finite discount windows. If we tell ourselves that we should pursue our subjective values, we won't end up pursuing those subjective values in a farsighted way that involves, for example, maintaining a functioning civilization so that people continue to follow laws and don't rob or stab each other. Instead, we will invariably party it up and pursue short-term subjective values to the detriment of our long-term subjective values. So instead of admitting to ourselves that we are really interested in subjective value in the long run, we have to tell ourselves a noble lie that we are actually serving some higher objective purpose in order to motivate our primate brains to stick to what will happen to be good for subjective values in the long run."


Indeed, I have found some neoreactionary writers muse on the problem of wanting to believe in God because it would serve as a unifying and motivating objective good, and lamenting the fact that they cannot bring themselves to do so.


Now, onto the descriptive disagreements....


Descriptive assumption #1: Humanity can master nature (progressivism) vs. Nature will always end up mastering humanity (neoreaction).

Whereas progressives tend to have optimism that humankind can incrementally master the laws of nature (not change them, but master them, as in intelligently work around them, much like how we have worked around but not changed gravitation by inventing airplanes), neoreactionaries have a dour pessimism that humankind under-estimates the extent to which the laws of nature constantly pull our puppet strings.  Far from being able to ever master nature, humankind will always be mastered by nature, by nature's command to "race to the bottom" in order to out-reproduce, out-compete one's rivals, even if that means having to sacrifice the nice things in life.


For specific ways in which nature threatens to master humanity unless humanity somehow finds a way to exert tremendous efforts at collective coordination against nature, see Scott Alexander's "Meditations on Moloch."


Most progressives presumably hold out hope that we can collectively coordinate to overcome Moloch.  If nature and its incentives threaten humanity with the strongest and most ruthless conquering the weak and charitable, perhaps we create a world government to prevent that.  If nature and its incentives drive down wages to subsistence level, perhaps we create a global minimum wage.  If humanity is threatened with dysgenic decline, perhaps a democratic world government organizes a eugenics program. 


Descriptive assumption #2:  On average, people have, or can be trained to have, far-sighted discount functions (progressivism), vs. people typically have short-sighted discount functions (neoreaction). 

Part of the progressive assumption about humanity being able to master nature is that ordinary people are rational enough to see the big picture and submit to such controls if they are needed to avoid the disasters of Moloch.  Part of the neoreactionary assumption about nature always mastering humanity is that, except for some bright outliers, most people are short-sighted primates who will insist on trading long-term well-being for short-term frills.


Descriptive assumption #3: Culture is a variable mostly dependent on material conditions (progressivism) vs. Culture is an independent variable with respect to material conditions (neoreaction).

Neoreactionaries often claim that life seems so much better in modern times in comparison to, say, 400 years ago, only because of our technological advancement since then has compensated for, and hidden, how our culture has rotted in the meantime. Neoreactionaries argue that, if one could combine our modern technology with, let's say, an absolute monarchy, then life would be so much better. This assumption of being able to mix & match material conditions and political systems, or material conditions and culture, depends on an assumption that culture and social institutions are essentially independent variables. Perhaps with enough will, we can try to make any set of technologies work well with any set of cultural and social institutions.


Progressives, whether they realize it or not, are probably subtly influenced, instead, by the "historical materialist" (AKA Marxist) view of society which argues that certain material conditions and material incentives tend to automatically generate certain cultural and social responses.


For example, to Marx, increased agricultural productivity in the late middle ages and Renaissance due to better agricultural technologies was a pre-requisite for the "Acts of Enclosure" in England, which booted the "surplus" farmers off of the farms and into the cities as propertyless proletarians who would be willing to work for a wage. Likewise, technologies like steam power were pre-requisites for providing an unprecedentedly profitable way of employing these proletarians to make a profit. (Otherwise, the proletarians might have just been left to rot on the street unemployed, with their numbers dwindling in Malthusian fashion). And because there were new avenues for making a profit, the people who stood to gain from chasing these new profit incentives produced new cultural habits and laws that would enable them to pursue these incentives more effectively. One of these new sets of laws was "laissez-faire" economics. Another was liberal democracy.


To a progressive, the proposition that we could, even theoretically, run our modern technological society through an absolute monarchy would probably seem preposterous. It is not even an option. Our modern society is too complex, with too many conflicting interests to reconcile through any system that prohibits the peaceful discovery and negotiation of these varied interests through a democratic process involving "voice." In reality, people are not content with being able only to exercise the "right of exit" from institutions or governments that they don't like. Perhaps the powerless have no choice but to immigrate. But elites have, historically, more often chosen to stand and fight rather than gracefully exit. Hence, feudalism, civil wars brought on by crises of royal succession, Masonic orders, factions, political parties, "special interest groups," and so on.


Progressives would say, "Do you honestly think that you can tame these beasts, when even a dictator like Hitler was just as much beholden to juggling interest groups and power blocs around him as he was the real dictator of events?" Ah, but the neoreactionaries will say, "Hitler's Nazism was still "demotist." It made the mistake of trying to justify itself to the public, if not through elections, then at least implicitly. We won't do that." To which progressives might say, "You might not want to justify yourself to the rabble and to elite power blocs, but they will demand it—and not because they are all infected by some mysterious mental virus called the "Cathedral," but because they see a way to gain an advantage through politics, and in the modern era they have the means and coordination to effectively fight for it."


These are just examples. The take-away point is that, for progressives, culture appears to be more of a dependent variable, not a variable that is independent of material conditions. So, according to progressives, you can't say, "Let's just combine today's technology with absolute monarchy, and voilà!"


Descriptive assumption #4: Western society is currently anabolic/ascendant (progressivism) vs. catabolic/decadent (neoreaction).

Neoreaction often gets caricatured as claiming that "things are getting worse" or "have been getting worse for the past x number of years." This paints a weak straw-man of neoreaction because, on the surface, things seem so much "obviously" better now than ever. However, this isn't quite what neoreactionaries claim.


Neoreactionaries actually claim that Western society is decaying (note the subtle difference). Western society is gradually weakening its ability to reproduce itself. It is, to use a farming metaphor, eating up its seed-corn on present consumption, on insant gratification, which causes things to seem really swell on the surface...for now. However, according to neoreactionaries, conditions might not yet be getting worse on average (although they will point to inner city violence and other signs that conditions already have started to get worse in some places), but Western society's "capital stock" is getting worse, is already dwindling.


Envisioned more broadly, a society's "capital" is not just its money. It is its entire basket of tangible and intangible assets that help it reproduce and expand itself. So a society's "capital" would also include things like its citizens, its birth rates, its habits of harmonious gender relations, its education, its habits of civil propriety, its sustaining myths (such as patriotism or religion), its infrastructure, its environmental health [although NRxers tend to not focus on this], etc.


Another term for "decadence" might be "catabolic collapse." A catabolic collapse is when an organism starts consuming its own muscles, its own seed-corn, if you will, in a last-ditch effort to stay alive. By contrast, an "anabolic" process is one that builds muscle—one that saves up capital, if you will. (Hence, "anabolic" steroids).


Neoreactionaries believe that Western society is currently headed for a "catabolic collapse."  (See John Michael Greer, author of "How Civilizations Fall: A Theory of Catabolic Collapse."  Oddly enough, John Michael Greer started out 10 years ago as a trendy name in anarcho-primitivist intellectual circles.  Now his ideas have been embraced by some neoreactionaries such as Nick Land, which makes me ponder whether anarcho-primitivism is really of the "left" or "right" to begin with...)


When it comes to progressives, most, I think, would argue that Western society is not currently catabolic/decadent. Granted, they would point to some problems with "unsustainability," especially with regards to environmental pollution, resource depletion, and maybe public debt levels (especially worrisome to the libertarian-minded). But on the whole, progressives are still optimistic that these problems can be overcome without rolling back liberal democracy.


Now, let's look at some specific worries that neoreaction has about Western decadence....


Descriptive Assumption #5: Our biggest population threat is overshoot and the attendant resource depletion, environmental pollution, and immiseration of living standards (progressivism) vs. Our biggest population threat is a demographic death spiral (neoreaction).

One thing I have noticed when looking at neoreactionary websites is that they are really obsessed with birth rates! They argue that countries with fertility below replacement level are on the road to annihilation. I found this interesting because my first impulse is to feel like this globe is getting too damn crowded.


Perhaps neoreactionaries envision the birth rates to stay below replacement level from here on out—that this is a permanent change. Perhaps they foresee world population following a sort of bell-shaped curve. My naive progressive assumption is that our population is already in a slight overshoot beyond what can be sustained at our current level of technology, and that any present declines in birth rates are probably just enough to bring us into the oscillating plateau of a typical S-shaped popoulation curve, and that better economic prospects could easily reverse the trend. My naive progressive assumption is that raising kids will remain sufficiently fun and interesting to a large enough pool of adults that, given enough of a feeling of economic security, people will happily continue having kids in sufficient numbers to prevent a die-off of Homo sapiens. In other words, most progressives like myself would not see the need to roll back gender norms in Western society at the present time for the sake of popping out more babies.


Perhaps what worries neoreactionaries, though, is not so much the fear of a global planetary baby shortage, but rather a localized baby shortage among Westerners or Whites. Maybe they fear that all babies are not created equal....


Descriptive assumption #6: "Immigrants are OK" (progressivism) vs. "Immigrants will jeopardize Western Civilization/the White Race/intelligent human complexity/etc." (neoreaction)

Progressives say, "It is not a big deal if Western society has to import some immigrants to keep its population topped off. Immigrant cultures will eventually blend with the "nativist" culture. Historically, this has turned out OK, despite xenophobic fears every time that it will end in disaster. The immigrants will mostly assimilate into the nativist culture. The nativist culture will pick up a few new habits from the immigrants (some of them helpful, some of them harmful, but on the balance nothing disastrous). Nor will the immigrants dirty the nativist gene pool with bad genes. As far as we can tell so far, no significant genetic differences in intelligence and/or physical vigor exist between immigrants and non-immigrants."


Neoreactionaries say, "It is a very big deal if Western society has to import some immigrants to keep its population topped off. Immigrant cultures will not assimilate with the nativist culture. Immigrant cultures will end up imparting a net influene of bad habits on the native culture. Civil decency will be eroded. Crime and societal dysfunction will increase. The native gene pool will also be dirtied with lower-intelligence immigrant genes. (And the only reason we can't see this is because the progressive Establishment AKA the "Cathedral" has systematically distorted the research and discourse around IQ). At worst, Western cities will act as "IQ Shredders." Any intelligent immigrants who seize economic opportunities in wealthy Western cities will see their fertility rates plummet, and the idiots will inherit the Earth à la the movie "Idiocracy"."


More to come in subsequent parts....

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Perhaps blame it on Yvain, AKA Scott Alexander of slatestarcodex.com for attaching this strange intellectual node to LessWrong. ; )

This is just wrong. Neoreaction has had a presence on LessWrong since before it existed; back in the days of Overcoming Bias, Moldbug used to comment under the handle "Mencius." Vladimir_M, Aurini, and sam0345 were reactionary LW users who made their last comments in 2012; Dr. Alexander's "Nutshell" essay was posted in March of 2013. Hell, at one point, Multi got so annoyed that he wrote a post called "I've had it with those dark rumours about our culture rigorously suppressing opinions."

Good times.

Good to know! It would be interesting for someone to write an "Intellectual History of LessWrong." I know there was this: http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/03/13/five-years-and-one-week-of-less-wrong/ But, as nice as this summary is, it focuses more on the questions that got solved and the culminating successes, and is less of a balance "history" that follows every trend, fad, and intellectual dead end (not to imply that neoreaction is necessarily a "dead end," but it doesn't make the list in this account).
I'll say. There is nothing about UFAI.
There was a moratorium on discussions about artificial intelligence the first couple months after LW was launched.

The history of LW and NR is older than Scott's posts on the subject.

The plausible connection between LW and NR is that both have an underlying premise that life can be improved by taking a fairly abstract approach.

There were several active NR posters. They decided LW wasn't where they wanted to hang out, and some of them can be found at More Right..

More specifically, I thought the main connection was (a) Moldbug frequenting OB (b) Mike Anissimov as the transhumanist neoreactionary. Was there more I've missed? (I know lots more of such showed up later.)

LessWrong primes you to suspect social consensus with people are crazy, the world is mad, teaches that you have to actually grapple with difficult stuff in detail instead of grabbing the closest cliche to end the discussion, and then introduces a Really Important Thing that relies on us being able to understand the mechanics of intelligence better than anyone has done before. It's not a long jump to go looking into human intelligence as the best existing model for intelligence we have, and then it turns out you don't need to dig very far into the research on human intelligence to hit stuff only the Dark Enlightenment folk seem to be openly talking about, while the rest of the world seems to be happy with S. J. Gould's final word.

I didn't know or had forgotten about) the OB connection. In any case, when I was talking about a connection, I meant to explain why there would be a enough similarity of ideas and temperament that NRx would be active members of LW rather than exploring the historical connection.

It's certainly possible to come up with explanations -- Moldbug commented on OB; the DE seems fringe due to memetic immune disorders to statements generally accepted as true around LW; LW primes you to suspect social consensus; etc. -- but are explanations necessary?

Not many LWers identified as NRx on the survey, and not many NRx writers post on LW. I would not be surprised if the overlap between LW and, say, conlangers turned out to be about as large as the overlap between LW and NRx.

There is also a non-negligible overlap between NRx and conlangers, which is why I used that example, and also why I don't think there's anything more going on here than "there are only so many Americans who will join groups of people who do complicated things involving words on the internet".

Here's a big one that's sort of up a meta-level from a lot of the descriptive beliefs:

Older societies/cultures are optimized (NR) vs. older societies/cultures are chaotic messes (prog)

NRs expect older structures to be very well adapted to their conditions close to ideal, or at least far better than anything progressives would invent from a blank slate. Progressives tend to see older structures as arising from a very complicated, often Moloch-driven set of interactions that optimizes only very weakly for things like social stability and doesn't optimize at all for, say, most members' happiness. There are separate but related questions about whether history optimized societies for the right things and how effectively it optimized them.

This is essentially summarizable as level of belief in Chesterton's Fence. A neoreactionary thinks the fence must be there for a damn good reason, whereas a progressive figures there are lots of stupid reasons the fence could end up there.

And when we start from the blank slate, NRs expect the right answer to look a lot like traditional societies, whereas progressives believe human cognition should be able to drastically outperform historical evolutionary forces.


An argument I think I've heard from some of the smarter progressives (but I may have built it myself as a steelman) is that older societies/cultures may have been optimized for older conditions, but technological change has far-reaching social consequences that make those optimizations no longer viable.

The typical example seems to be birth control making sex outside marriage viable, but I must have heard it in a different context, since it clearly fails in that one. (STDs. Drug resistance is likely soon.)

You've probably both heard and invented it; it's one horn of what we might call the Progressive's Trilemma: "If traditional structures are not optimal, they must be either a) insufficiently optimized, b) optimized for the wrong values, or c) optimized for the wrong conditions". I doubt you'll find many progressives who don't believe some measure of each of these depending on the issue. (EDIT: You could call it the Chesterton's Fence trilemma: If the fence shouldn't be there, then either it was put there by an idiot, it was put there by a bandit, or it was put there when the road ahead was flooded. Or something.) a) is my point above and b) is related to OP's Normative Assumption #1. c) is a bit related to OP's Descriptive Assumption #3, but might warrant its own statement: There has been so much rapid change recently that something working in the premodern past is scant evidence that it will work today (prod) vs. the lessons of the past mostly hold true today (NR). This one is fun because it lets you say " was indeed wise to counsel thus, but is a fool to apply that advice today". Perhaps ironically, this has a cultural-relativist-ish appeal to progressives. (But having a motivation doesn't make it a bad argument)
cf. Han Feizi's attack on the Confucians
Progs are somewhat biased in neglecting the combined possibilities that 1 the fence was placed there for a reason 2 it was well optimized for the reason 3 the reason is still valid 4 it is still well optimized ....but the NRs are much more biased, because they are assuming that all of 1..4 are correct. The odds are strongly in favour of the prog assumption that one went wrong.
Having a non-zero downside is not the same thing as being nonviable. There's a nonzero downside to everything .NRs like, since there is to everything.
IIRC that's more or less what Scott said near the end of his anti-reactionary FAQ. (That's also my position, except in most cases I'd weaken it to ‘probably no longer optimal’.) Whut? Is northern sub-replacement fertility just because people aren't having sex? Condoms.
Condoms have existed since ancient Egypt so they aren't new technology that the culture hasn't had a chance to adept to yet. In fact the way cultures tend to adept to condoms is by proscribing their use.
How recent are STD-preventing condoms? (Not that condoms can prevent all STDs, of course: "A greater level of protection is provided for the diseases transmitted by genital secretions. A lesser degree of protection is provided for genital ulcer diseases or HPV because these infections also may be transmitted by exposure to areas (e.g., infected skin or mucosal surfaces) that are not covered or protected by the condom." (source))
And not society has ever really practiced 100% for-life monogamy. Everybody has abundant evidence that the world is an imperfect place, and everything in it, but we still keep coming up with these black-and-white theories.
But many societies have held 100% for-life monogamy as something you should do. To put it another way, no society has ever had a murder rate of 0%, but that doesn't mean we should declare murder acceptable.
I was responding to a point about viability.
Don't know, although I don't see why cotton or sheepskin condoms would be significantly less effective than modern ones. If the condom can stop the sperm, it can stop whatever else is in the semen.

No, a sperm cell is very substantially larger than a virus particle. Lambskin condoms have not been shown to be effective at blocking virus transmission.

Not that I don't believe you, but would you happen to have a source I could use for further reference?
Failing to find an actual paper that does more than mention in passing that they-re not shown effective - it just gets treated as common knowledge. Wikipedia's condom article references "Boston Women's Health Book Collective (2005). Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era. New York, NY: Touchstone. p. 333. ISBN 0-7432-5611-5." Here's a nifty visualization of the scales involved: Cell Size and Scale
There's no clear definition of "blank slate"...low technology ? Low population? Traditional societies might have been adapted for those conditions., but they are not our conditions. Claiming that you could have designed ancient societies better is not exactly a core belief of prog.
Sorry, I meant 'designing the ideal modern society from a blank slate', i.e. sitting down and thinking about what modern society should be like.
It's not necessarily organic adaptation versus design ... progressives can argue that modern societies are an organic cause and consequence of rapid technological change.

As I see it, Progressivism says, "Our subjective values are worth pursuing in and of themselves just because it makes us feel good.

Citation needed. I don't think that's what Progressivism is about (especially given how the context here is explicitly political). In particular, progressives are not libertarians.

From a normative point of view, there are a LOT of differences between the progressive value system and the neoreactionary value system.

In general, what you describe as progressivism (humanity can master nature, humans have far-sighted discount functions, etc.) is quite different from what I see progressives say and do on the US political arena.

It's an apt description of liberalism, of which progressivism is a species, which is defined by an open pluralism regarding what counts as the good. Progressives add a belief in systemic oppression - i.e., oppression by cultural norms and values, which they try to alleviate, but the goal is the same as classical liberalism: liberty from perceived oppression. Regardless, if you conceive of society as a power-structure, whether you take the classical liberal belief that we're oppressed by state and church, the socialist belief that we're oppressed by class structure or the modern progressive belief that we're oppressed by sexism, racism, etc, then you want to alleviate those harms and typically the only way to do so is to use existing power structures.
That's classical liberalism and I don't count contemporary progressives, at least in the US, as belonging to it. The contemporary progressives have very... fixed ideas about what counts as good and are quite intolerant of people who dare to think otherwise. Not to mention that they have a love affair with state power.

All three projects - liberalism, socialism and progressivism - are related by common commitments that have their origins in Enlightenment political philosophy. Because progressives believe in systemic oppression, they have to alleviate systemic oppression in order to achieve liberty: we won't be truly free until we're free from racism, sexism, etc. They're still committed to value pluralism. All three projects faced the (paradoxical) issue of having to attain state power in order to enforce their vision. Liberal democracy was often created on the back of violent revolution, for example.

Libertarians typically identify with classical liberalism and decry progressivism as statist and oppressive, it's true, but that doesn't mean that progressives aren't committed to liberty and value pluralism on their own terms. They have a different notion of what those things mean, they don't reject them.

Yes, the common thread is the Enlightenment. See my response to Lumifer regarding who are the "progressives" I am talking about. They are not necessarily the people in America who flock to the Democratic Party. I don't think neoreactionaries are just complaining about democrats when they go after "progressivism." They have a far more broad target in mind—the Enlightenment, I guess, more or less.
No need to guess, rejecting the Enlightenment is one of the big NR themes...
It's also a big thing in modern Progressivism on the grounds that the Enlightenment was a bunch of dead white men. The difference, and this is the reason why it's so easy to get confused by the relationship between the Enlightenment and Progressivism, is that modern Progressives seek to reject the Enlightenment in the name of the Enlightenment.
Agreed. The only way I can see that progressivism relates to pursuing subjective values is in sexual politics, supporting gay sex and birth control and thereby saying sex has value 'just because it feels good' rather than for the more objective purpose of reproduction. I suppose that pushing back against the objective values found in religion could be argued as well, except that many progressives are religious.
The inevitable has happened: The NRx definition of Progressive as "not reactionary" has got confused with the common meaning.
I am not trying to describe the value system of American progressives (whom I would call "social democrats" to use terminology that is consistent with European nomenclature). I am using the word "progressive" in a much broader, more philosophical sense—close to the sense in which neoreactionaries use the term. I know that that game of re-defining terms sounds like a cop-out, but there's not really another word I could use to describe this worldview that I am trying to sketch and compare with neoreaction.
So, um, who do you call "progressives", then? Can you point to a few of such people, maybe link to their defining works/rants/manifestos?
Good question. I think the best representative of "progressivism" in the sense that I am using it would be Karl Marx. When Marx says at the end of chapter 2 of the Communist Manifesto, "In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." he is painting a picture of a society where each individual will have the freedom and ability to pursue the things that he/she subjectively values (insofar as it is compatible with others doing likewise). The novel thing about Marx is, the idea that this would be a good state of affairs needs no justification beyond itself. Marx just says, "Wouldn't this be nice?" He does not say, "This is the perfection of man that God commands." He does not say, "This is what Natural Law commands." (Of course, Marx did not trust such appeals to universal absolutes, always seeing class motivations lurking underneath such language.) Marx just says, "Doesn't this sound nice? Let's do it." You can find this idea among other Enlightenment thinkers. I guess the closest synonym to "progressivism" would be "the Enlightenment." For example, Thomas Jefferson's "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Yes, I know that Jefferson is justifying this by appealing to a "Creator," but that's him throwing a bone to the religious of his time to make it more palatable. Did Jefferson really believe that his Deist version of the "Creator" would have any bearing on this stuff? No. Earlier he says that these truths are "self-evident," which I think is Jefferson's real justification. Once again, subjectivism. And I know that "pursuit of happiness" is a last minute replacement for "property," which sounded to petty and narrow. Even so, the idea that life is a
Interesting. Would it mean, then, that marxists would be the prototypical progressives? I am also not sure that Marx (late Marx, in particular) is that keen on everyone going off doing his own personal thing. He does seem to stress the class consciousness and doesn't like bourgeois pursuits much. Other people of his time -- like Proudhon, for example -- were much more individualistic/anarchist since that's the side you're focusing on. Well, your whole post is devoted to comparing progressives and neoreactionaries. Who represents the progressives -- now, in the XXI century? We can easily point to leading neoreactionaries starting with Moldbug. You're comparing them with whom? not with Karl Marx, hopefully?
I would say that the most full-blooded "progressives" around today would be communists. No, not the Confucian Mandarins in China that try to pass themselves off as "communists" nowadays. I'm talking about communists who were / are at least as vaguely connected to the actual writings of Marx and Engels as the Soviet communists were. They are the ones who wanted / want to make "heaven on Earth." They are the ones who had / have the most supreme confidence in humankind's ability to eventually "master nature" in principle. They are the ones who had / have the most confidence in their designs to re-engineer human society and "lift the world." They are the ones neoreactionaries truly loathe. As much as neoreactionaries wail about the decline of Western Civilization now, imagine what they would be like if the Soviet Union had won the Cold War...if they had subverted all Western governments and the U.S. was now run by a communist Poliburo. I think neoreactionaries' heads would explode. That said, the numbers of real fire-breathing communists in the West nowadays is minuscule, so that is probably why neoreactionaries do not frame them as their ultimate enemy. Instead, neoreactionaries focus on ideologically combating the social justice types, who usually hail from a slightly less extreme part of the left associated with "democratic" socialism, social democracy, and maybe the left wing of the Democratic Party. They are less-extreme "progressives" in that they do not push the whole philosophy of "progressivism" to its most extreme conclusions, but because they are more numerous and more of a threat, they are who gets tarred with the label "progressivist," and that is why neoreactionaries talk about "progressivism" rather than "Enlightenment-ism" or "communism," and hence why I have chosen to use the label "progressivism" in this thread. Edit: Also, one might object that communists talk a great deal about "serving the people" and not being selfish and all that. Surely they w
Right. No sacrifice was too great for that noble goal. From being shot into the head at close range, yes, probably. Well, that's where we started -- I said that your description of progressivism in the OP didn't sound much like the American progressives and you agreed. But now it seems that you do have them in mind, too. Can you clarify?
Yes...I think American progressives (what Europe would call our "social democrats") share most of the assumptions that I've highlighted in this thread, as do communists. But American progressives aren't as willing to be frank with themselves or others about following the assumptions towards their icily-logical endpoints. American progressives are more likely to have some conflicting sentimental attachments to religious ideas of objective value, or ideas of "human rights" being a pseudo-objective value (I say "pseudo-objective" because, unless they are arguing from religion, the only basis they really have for asserting that such-and-such is an objective "human right" is their own moral intuition (in other words, what makes them feel good or icky, which is back to subjectivism even if they don't realize it. Like I said, they don't always follow their thoughts to the logical conclusion)). So, American social democrats are not as "full-blooded progressives" as communists are, but their ideas lead in the same direction.
In particular, modern progressives are perfectly willing to invent new human rights and declare them "objectively" good (e.g. gay marriage) or take rights that have been considered human rights for centuries and demote them (e.g. free speech).
Gay marriage is a straightforward simplification of marriage.
If you think of marriage as merely a database entry or XML tag with no connection to how the participants act or should act in the real word, yes.
I was trying to draw a comparison to Transhumanism as Simplified Humanism - Universal Marriage as simplified Hetero Marriage.
Could you spell out the connection, I don't see it. Eliezers essay looks at humanism, looks at the reasons for it and than argues that those reasons apply to transhumanism. The article you linked to starts with a model of marriage that has already abstracted away all the reasons for it existing in the first place and goes from there.
Eliezer's essay then makes the case that transhumanism is preferable because it lacks special rules. By analogy: "Love is good. Isolation is bad. If two people are in love, they can marry. It's that simple. You don't have to look at anybody's gender." Elegant program designs imply elegant (occam!) rules.
Um, marriage isn't just about love, also the nature of heterosexual and homosexual "love" is very different. From the article I linked above:
If you think if words as having intrinsic connections to Platinum Forms..

Fascinating project you've taken on!

Let me try to add one, though I'm no expert:

Domination is terrible (prog) vs. domination can be eudaimonic (NR) I often see neoreactionaries contend that dominated members of traditional societies were happy, even those progressives would identify as most oppressed. The argument goes roughly that peasants, slaves, battered wives, and so on who accepted their lot in life would mentally adapt and be able to be perfectly happy. Progressivism/liberalism/the Cthedral has either destroyed our capacity to thrive in these arrangements or caused us to dishonestly claim we would hate them.

The standard modern assumption, on the other hand, is that this kind of domination is a horrible thing to inflict on any human, that peasants, slaves and battered wives suffered immensely, and that it's essential to eradicate even the shade of this kind of treatment.

Note that this particular NRx view comes directly from Aristotle, who wrote in "Politics" that some people are slaves by nature and it's better for them to be ruled.

Interesting dichotomy. Yes, I think you may be on to something here.

The argument goes roughly that peasants, slaves, battered wives, and so on who accepted their lot in life would mentally adapt and be able to be perfectly happy. Progressivism/liberalism/the Cthedral has either destroyed our capacity to thrive in these arrangements or caused us to dishonestly claim we would hate them.

One way to test this hypothesis would be to locate a place in the world today, or a place and time in history, where the ideas of the "Cathedral" has not / had not penetrated, and give the "oppressed" a chance to state their true opinions in a way where they know that they don't need to censor themselves in front of the master.

For example, if we went back to 1650 in Virginia (surely before any abolitionist sentiment or Cathedralization of that society's discourse...) and found a secret diary of a slave that said, "Oh lawd, I sho' love slavin' fo' da massah evryday," then that would support the neoreactionary hypothesis. On the other hand, many discoveries of secret slave diaries in that context saying, "Bein' slaves is awful bad" would suggest the opposi... (read more)

I believe that Putin currently has something like 85% approval rating in Russia...
Wars will do that. See eineteen eighty four.
The opinions of ordinary North Koreans might be a good test.
Seventh quote here: http://radishmag.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/slavery-reconsidered/
If only that were satire.
(Knowledge of) acceptance isn't much use without (knowledge of) alternatives.
Bingo. We have a winner. Yes, in the absence of any other clues this seems to me to be the way to differentiate between political left and right, although it breaks down in certain atypical cases such as Stalinism on the left and certain highly liberal strands of capitalism advocacy, on the right. (If this is a necro post, then it's only because yours was a comment worth reviving.)

One old commonality is LW's wariness of conventional democracy, emerging from its singularitarian background. The singularitarian worry is that a society of many wholly self-determining agents will end up in a destructive multipolar trap. Bostrom had already published an argument on these lines back in 2004. SIAI/MIRI has always been different from most of the techno-progressivism milieu it's in with by considering extreme technological autonomy as a very probable future existential risk instead of an important political value to fight for.

The neoreaction connection is pretty clear here. Neoreactionaries denounce democracy as a present-day massive coordination failure instead of a future enabler of existential risk, but they're biting the bullet and openly talking about abandoning democracy for a system that could do the sort of global coordination MIRI presents as its endgame.

I always thought it was interesting that SIAI/MIRI seems to have a very libertarian bias in terms of present-day politics, but its endgame puts all power in a singleton, who divides resources according to CEV, weighting each person's preferences equally, i.e. totalitarian communism, which is the diametrical opposite of libertarianism. Not that I'm saying this is a contradiction or hypocrisy, as different situations do require different politics - if anything, it shows a great deal of cognitive flexibility.
I don't really see a contradiction here. The idea is that perfectly rational agents would choose to merge into a singleton that maximizes a combination of their utility functions, instead of wasting resources on competition. CEV is not the only mechanism that can achieve that, also see Carl's paper on superorganisms. Humans can't quite do that yet because we don't have good technologies for cooperation, precommitment or self-modification, and also because we don't have good enough math on bargaining which is necessary for merging.

I find Neoreaction interesting for several reasons. One, it has roots in the beginnings of Western philosophy, which makes it hard to dismiss as a novelty and fad for geeks who live in their parents' basements and read too much fantasy growing up. Plato and Aristotle differed on the details, but they both agreed that human nature finds its fulfillment in extended families (a condition of undiversity, in other words) who live in small city-states where the population sorts itself into local organic hierarchies and the natural, patriarchal aristocracy that emerges gets to run things.

This puts the modern liberal-progressive intelligentsia in an awkward spot, because educated leftists have to admit that Plato and Aristotle founded Western philosophy. If Plato and Aristotle anticipated today's Neoreactionaries, well, you can't exactly call Neoreaction an unhistorical, ungrounded, fringe view, can you?

Two, I've read a few books lately about the Enlightenment (if you have the attention span, try Jonathan Israel's), which doesn't make me an expert by any means. But I get the impression that the so-called radical branch of the Enlightenment, which historians can trace to a specific social ... (read more)

If Plato and Aristotle anticipated today's Neoreactionaries, well, you can't exactly call Neoreaction an unhistorical, ungrounded, fringe view, can you?

I'm not sure what "unhistorical" is supposed to mean, here, but you can definitely call it ungrounded and fringe. Fringe is obvious; look around at political philosophers of all stripes, and find as many Neoreactionaries as you can; it will be at most a tiny fraction of the population. Which is exactly what is meant by 'fringe view'.

In terms of claiming ancient views as demonstrating solid grounding for a belief: people long ago believed many things which we know now to be wrong and baseless (given adequate data). Plato and Aristotle themselves inherited from predecessors like Zeno, Thales, and Anaximenes, who all believed things we now know are indisputably wrong. (The paradoxes of impossibility of motion, everything being composed of forms of water, and everything being composed of air, respectively.)

The grounds that Plato and Aristotle had to believe those positions were that their society looked approximately like that, and, to their (probably biased) eyes, looked like it was doing much better than anyone else around. If we look around now, we don't see any society that has that form, and those historical societies that did didn't do well in the long term. The grounding has been lost, and claiming 'this used to be well-grounded' as grounding now doesn't obtain.

Unless I haven't found where to look yet, the literature on this period seems to lack good expositions which lay out the case in defense of the traditional social system that the philosophes mocked and rejected. Jonathan Israel references now obscure books written by the philosophes' contemporaries which respond to the Enlightenment's propaganda with anti-philosophie, but because these men, mostly Catholic clergymen and theologians, allegedly lost the historical argument to the philosophes, lots of luck finding accessible versions of that literature now, and in English translation.

Your comment has brought up a possibility that had never occurred to me before: perhaps one of the weaknesses of the anti-philosophes is that they felt obliged to defend their particular brand of traditionalism (Christian traditionalism) and therefore didn't have the cognizance to give the best general defense for traditionalism as such. Basically, the Enlightenment thinkers got to strawman traditionalism as Christian traditionalism, whereas in the least convenient possible world they would have had to argue against the 18th century equivalents of our neoreactionaries—which, even if you don't totally buy into their arguments, you have to at least admit that they would have made for more formidable intellectual opponents than...a Church that was shot through with a recent history of internal divisions (Protestant Reformation, religious wars) and corruption (selling of indulgences, corrupt popes, etc.).

SF writers might perhaps just like feudalism because it's...yknow, colourful.
Feudalism has a lot of advantages in sf. It's familiar, but it's not what we're doing at the moment. Because it's familiar, the titles and such have emotional resonance. Most of us feel superior to it, but many of us are still kind of fond of it. And it's simpler than democracy, or at least can be presented as simpler, and it has fewer boring details. Logically, societies with larger populations will be more complex, especially if they're dependent on complex infrastructure, but that's a lot of weight for fiction to carry.
Feudalism had a lot of boring details about rights and privileges
Well, you should be sure to look at the failure of the Greek City-States (even before being conquered, several of them essentially tried to form empires) and the failure of traditional monarchies throughout the 19th century as pretty strong empirical evidence against them. I wouldn't say that the world we live in is the progressive vision; more of a neoliberal one (which is roughly classical liberal + large hegemonic institutions [note the contradictions]). However, it's certainly not like the 18th century.
Republic of Venice is of interest.
Could you clarify what you mean?
We look to both negative and positive examples of what we want for information on how to obtain it. In this case we want positive examples of civilizations providing stability and meeting human needs well. Stability is a key parameter which is why we spend so much time looking at long lived civilizations. The Republic of Venice is notable for being extremely long lived, and relatively neglected by people studying history/using historical examples to support political theories. I agree that traditional monarchies don't have a very good base rate of success BTW.
A different case could be made that Plato was the first progressive, i.e., in The Republic he attempted to design an ideal society from scratch based on the premise that the elites must continuously lie to the population.
What's progressive about that?
You need to read Moldbugg to find out what Progressives think. Querying your own mind won't work because PROGRESSIVES LIE TO THEMSELVES!!!

This should be an acceptable hypothesis to the LW population. c.f. "I'm considering getting my facial expressions analysed, so I'll know what I'm thinking".

Jokes aside, I think that's a great idea. I've often wished to have extra eyes and ears on my hands, in addition to the ones on my head, so I can perceive more things, in particular about myself.
Two behaviorists are having sex. When they are done, one of them turns to the other and says "well, that was good for you, how was it for me?" ---------------------------------------- Moldbug is a high verbal demagogue. He's not actually interested in truth-seeking (for instance by engaging with critics). He's too cool for critics. The problem with the mini-cults that this type of demagogue establishes is that occasionally they grow up and kill a lot of people. ---------------------------------------- I advocate a "conciseness/clarity" status marker for smarts, not obscurantism or demagoguery.
Um, do you even know what the word "demagogue" means?
Real argument is when you use "data." Real truth-seeking is when you engage with your critics. Real communication is when you try to be concise and clear. Does Moldbug do any of this? He tries to be persuasive, but not by any of these means. ---------------------------------------- Your attempt to be persuasive so far consisted of a status attack. Is that a trick you learned from Moldbug? Moldbug said of Scott Alexander: "Again, the constant embarrassment of life in Pontus is that you wish for better critics than you have. I really ought to give this thing [anti-reactionary FAQ] the thorough reaming it deserves. But in general, it's not bad enough to be funny and not good enough to be interesting. I'm a busy guy and my motivation does flag." Content-free status attack.
This post has served its purpose and is not needed any more.
Done, thanks.
The core of neoreaction is a different value system. There is no truth in values, so I'm not sure what kind of truth-seeking do you have in mind.
Voted up because even though this is outrageous if meant seriously, it's a very succinct statement of the point of view. Idea from a very valuable essay-- the specific content is just ordinary good, but the idea that people generally believe everyone else is deluded is worth hanging on to.

Thinking about it, one way to describe the difference between Progressives and NRx is how much they trust human reason versus other optimization processes.

Progressives tend to elevate human reason above all else. Notice how Yvain's reaction to Moloch is to flinch in horror and attempt to defeat it by the power of human reason.

NRx (and reactionaries and conservatives) believe that Gnon is frequently better than human reason. Notice that Nyan's reaction is attempt to capture Gnon by analyzing it. Notice also that of the four components of Gnon, the one n... (read more)

Gnon, the forces of nature, can't be a substitute for reason. Gnon doesn't tell you what to do. Gnon just kills you if you get it wrong. NRxs can't use reason to infer gnons wishes, because that's what progs do. (Its the progs who want to placate Gnon for putting too much CO2 into His atmosphere). NRxs can't use Burkean wisdom-of-the-ages, because of rapid technological change. Perhaps you need a special priesthood to interpret Gnon wishes. That was popular in the past.
Hence why Nyan talks of capturing Gnon, not worshiping him.
A problem I'm seeing with that view (which may be a good summary of NRx, I'm not sure), is that modern societies have broken tradition. Trying to a modern society resemble a traditional society will be just another example of imposing top-down theory.
Yvain does believe in reason but if you look at contemporary left thought do you think it elevates human reason above all else?
I said human reason not human rationality. (And maybe even "reason" wasn't the right work.) A lot of contemporary progressivism is a theme park version of this position, namely the alief that one can change oneself and reality through sheer force of will.
Who do you mean with "contemporary progressivism"? Libertarians? A lot of people on the left don't think that the poor can change themselves through force of will and therefore need help from the government.
No, but they believe that the poor can be changed through force of will, or by using the latest progressive educational theories or the latest anti-poverty initiative (never mind that the previous ~100 progressive education theories or anti-poverty initiatives didn't accomplish anything and arguably make things worse).
The poor have been changed. They have gone from 0% literacy to 90%+ literacy.
Interestingly that happened before progressives started seriously meddling in education.
Oh for fucks sake, The world can be, has been, and continuously is made better by political action and policy. This is obvious because the west exists. . There is many, many ways to govern badly, but that does not mean good governance does not exist. Obvious current events example: Police brutality can be addressed by building life-logs into police uniforms. This has been established by pilot programs with results way, way past the .05 sigma treshhold, and this will become common policy very shortly because the arguments against are just bloody well embarrassing in a world where minimum wage cashiers have to put up with being recorded on the job. Far to many people confuse cynicism and pessimism with understanding. Is there a name for that fallacy?
Firstly, that's a technological solution not a political one. Also it's interesting that the example of "police brutality" currently in the headlines consists of a police officer shooting a black thug who had just robbed a convenience store and was charging the officer and grabbing for his pistol when he was shot.

To put it mildly, what led up to the shooting is disputed. It would be good to have a visual record rather than deductions.

Which is the point - The pilot programs are recording rather mind-boggling decreases in the number of complaints against the police. It's of course unknowable which fraction of that is "bullshit complaints becoming impossible" and which "Police who are on camera behave better" but it doesn't matter. As a social and political problem, it goes away. That should have positive long term social impacts, especially in neighborhoods where the police are currently little trusted, but that is speculative. The direct effect is certain. And will spread. As other very-high efficiency social/political innovations have before.

Thats how it works - Most social reforms proposed don't do anything and never get off the ground or are repealed. The ones that do become a part of the background of existence. Like having a police force to begin with. Labor laws preventing employers from taking absurd risks with the health and lives of their employees, wages that do more than just barely keep body and soul together and so on and so forth.

Virtually all political solutions have an aspect of technology to them. The doctors in a single-payer health care system don't heal via the laying on of hands and prayer. It doesn't mean making use of that technology in a particular way is not a political decision.

That it would, but the distinction between political and technological solutions can't be ignored within the context of neoreaction, which says that technological advances have masked political decline. Also, comparable past experiences have to be taken into account here. Benjamin Crump, the Brown family's lawyer, was also the lawyer for Trayvon Martin's family -- and he was involved with the media narrative around the Marco McMillian case. The McMillian case (gay black mayoral candidate got murdered) was a hilarious misfire since the real murderer (who was black and probably gay) had already been caught and had already confessed when media outlets started declaring it a probable hate crime, but the Martin case was a lot like the Brown case, and the entire narrative turned out to be false. That's not a promising record.
What do you mean? The technology to do that already exist and has existed for a while; the reasons why we aren't doing that yet are political AFAICT. That's in a first-world country; there presumably are places in the world where worse examples of police brutality are so common that they don't even make it into the headlines.
I think that's very far from removed from the current political discourse. When looking at an issue such as black people getting payed less, then the modern leftist doesn't think about how to change black people. He thinks about how to change society in a way so that black people are payed more by passing anti-discrimination laws and instituting quotas. The whole notion that the black person is to be changed just isn't there.
In other words they want to fix things by a combination of force of will and legislative fiat. While pretending that the underlying cause, racial differences in ability, doesn't exist.
It's still a very different philosophy than the one you spoke about above. When you treat all kind of different philosophies the as being the same you can't meaningful talk about them.
Or they have evidence that that isn't the problem.
Maybe LW progressives do. In general, isn't it libertarians who tend to be the coldly calculating ones?
Compared to neoreaction, libertarianism and liberalism are virtually twins, as children of the Enlightenment.
I've heard it said that neoreaction is libertarianism meeting reality. This seems paradoxical, but under certain monarchys the state actually was smaller and interfered with people's lives less.
Well, that's the Moldbug's explanation for his evolution from libertarianism to neoreaction.
Got a link on hand? (I don't disbelieve you, I was wondering how he worded it.)
This is his explanation at its most explicit: www.unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2010/02/from-mises-to-carlyle-my-sick-journey.html
As I understand their position, Neoreactionaries view the classical liberalism which evolved into modern libertarianism as just an earlier stage of leftism. Advocates of classical liberalism made the case for breaking down traditional, hierarchical societies into collections of atomistic individuals who interact mainly through the market, and not through traditional social relationships like that between a serf and his feudal lord. Socialists came along later to push this idea to its reductio ad absurdum by promoting the idea of complete human fungibility. Ironically, while the socialist view of "equality" treats humans like commodities, in their private lives I notice that progressives in the U.S. like eating differentiated foods produced locally and organically, and sold in farmers' markets. Apparently they feel that they have the right to Notice differences in the characteristics of the organisms which go into the foods they eat that they deny in their interactions with members of their own species.
This fails to distinguish British from French liberalism, as usual. Burke and, later, Chesterton were able to make the distinction between the defense of individual rights and the notion that society could be rewritten into utopia through the application of the reason of clever statesmen and the obedience of the masses to their ideology. For a current (and perhaps less bloody) analogy to the French Revolution, see Munroe.
Burke and Chesterton also based their notion of liberty on British traditions. The problem is that modern liberalism is a lot closer to the utopian French than the traditionalist British approach.
Oddly enough, it proceeds more like the traditional British approach (polemic, lawsuits, and the occasional street protest) and less like the utopian French approach (mass beheadings of defeated leaders; storming of prisons; literal backstabbing of opposing faction members).
But the way they decide on their goals is a lot closer to the French method.
The American Civil War being a dramatic exception. (They deserved it!)
Libertarians trust the free market, what Nyan called Mammon, over the reasoning abilities of individual humans. At least that's the traditional libertarian position. When libertarians started focusing on non-economic issues and de-emphasizing the importance of the free market, the group that would become neoreaction broke with them.

This is a good start. I'd be interested to see what you (or commenters) think a neoreactionary (or progressive) narrative would look like.

The main flaw I see is that your account of progressivism is emic and you seem to be far outside the progressive norm. "If humanity is threatened with dysgenic decline, perhaps a democratic world government organizes a eugenics program." You're missing some very important disgust responses, comrade! And is wireheading really a core principle of progressivism?

That whole normative disagreement seems to be the wr... (read more)

Here's my idea of the core progressive narrative: What exactly changed and in the Enlightenment and how is a very good question, and I don't think there's anything like a consensus Progressive answer. And I was going to write my vision of the NR narrative but I realized I'd mostly just be paraphrasing Scott Alexander's Nutshell.
It's interesting that in your idea of the core progressive narrative the word corporation and democracy doesn't appear. Homesexuality got outlawed after the enlightment in the 19th century by progressives who wanted to improve the morality of society.
Um, Justinian's legal code prescribed the death penalty for sodomy, and people were being tried and sometimes executed for it during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
That doesn't change that laws were passed in the 19th century by progressives to punish homosexuality that weren't punished directly beforehand.
It's probably my own idiosyncrasy that these are less salient for me, but it's not hard to see where they fit in. Corporations are, to most progressives, the primary modern incarnation of exploitative strength. Democracy was a powerful blow against the old political exploitation system; most progressives I encounter will tell you how many problems still remain but nevertheless prefer democracy to any alternative. I think it's fair to say this fact doesn't fit well with the core progressive narrative. I don't know the history of that movement, but to explain it I think you'd have to either contest the premise that progressives were really the ones behind it, or temper the narrative by acknowledging at least some downsides to the progressive memeplex.
I don't know if that's a very coherent position: corporations are a way for "little people" to be small-time capitalists, to put their savings to productive use. I think progressives dislike corporations because they don't want anyone to be powerful -- except for the government they are running.
Somewhat true, but it's not like this is a terminal value. Progressives believe that most entities will use power for selfish ends, and that government is less likely to do so (excessive faith in this proposition is indeed a failure mode of less thoughtful progressives). There are a number of ways to square the fact that "little people" can own small parts of corporations with the belief that corporations are exploitative. You could argue that corporations are run by and for their executives and shareholders aren't coordinated enough to do anything about it; you could also argue that the exploitative power of the corporation benefits its shareholders but in a negative-sum way, so that shareholders are better off than they would be if the company didn't exploit but worse off than if no companies exploited. Also, it's worth noting that progressives tend to oppose 'big business' rather than corporations per se--they wouldn't be any happier with a giant multinational proprietorship.
It is for certain people. Who, not quite coincidentally, end up in power on occasion. Which, of course, flies in the face of the entire human history... X-) Yes, that's true, though many use the words interchangeably.
Maybe the general anti-reactionary narrative is more or less my narrative above; the left-progressive addendum is and the libertarian addendum is I actually agree with both addenda.
Corporations are very much children of the enlightenment. I think the idea that there hasn't been any gain in wealth for the lowest of society in the last three decades is part of the progressive narrative. Various progressives do complain about a loss of civil rights. When it comes to minorities, languages of majorities are still dying. A lot of minority culture gets lost. Various progressives do complain about globalisation and don't see it as a force that brings justice everywhere.
Something like that, except modern progressives are uncomfortable with it because the Enlightenment consisted mostly of dead white men.
That's like saying that modern progressives are against airplanes because they were invented by dead white man. Progressives don't actually hold it against white men that they are white or men. It's easier to think about stuff (such as: How should the world work?) if you are in a position of power. It's completely reasonable that the Enlightenment consisted mostly of white men, since those were the people with the access to education, the time to think and the ability to publish ideas. Progressives don't ignore past power-structures. They might not agree with them, but that's something else entirely. (I don't think that single comment is a great example to generalize from.)
There's probably some progressive at some university (probably in some grievance studies department) writing about how we need a feminist and non-racist theory of aerodynamics. Yes, I agree that's a reasonable argument, although there's still the question of why nobody outside Europe developed it. It didn't stop progressives from removing the western canon from university education on the grounds that it was all "dead white men".
Well, aerodynamics is based on Newtonian mechanics, and Newton's principa mathematica is a rape manual, and aeroplanes are kinda phallic.
To be fair, the Western cannon doesn't have a good reputation on LW either.
By "Western cannon" I mean the cultural currents that lead to things like science. What do you mean by it?
I think that he is alluding to your spelling of "canon" as "cannon"
Thanks, fixed.
Alternatively what's wrong with rail? Isn't rail a lot more green if you power it via solar cells? Airplanes are also a core feature of globalism.
Let's see: it's slower except for short distances, doesn't work across continents, and most importantly is less flexible since your limited to pre-built tracks.
And that somehow implies the current theory of aerodynamics is false?
I think you might have read an ironic sentence as being more serious than it was.
Sarcasm doesn't work on the internet.
That's an argument for conservatism, not reaction.
That's an argument for reaction once society starts to fall.
Correction: elites are a major cause of societal collapse, so it's an argument for egalitarianism. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists
No it means we need better elites.
Such as?
Such as Azathoth123 of course! Just kidding, I actually support Scott Alexander for world dictator.

Well written essay - I realise what I've written below seems a little critical, but that's because I'd rather discuss the bits I dont agree with.

It doesn't matter. In principle, if we could rewire our reward circuits to give us pleasure/fun/novelty/happiness/sadness/tragedy/suffering/whatever we desire* in response to whatever Nature had the automatic (or modified) disposition to offer us, then those good feelings would be just as worthwhile as anything else. (This is why neoreactionaries perceive progressive values as "nihilistic.") According

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And failed.
Humans are around and doing fine. Are you sure you don't mean "evolved"?
The transition from traditional to progressive societies has been painful most of the times (mainly in the form of revolutions). It is possible to say that Ivan's Russia evolved into Nicolas's Russia, but claiming that Nicolas's Russia evolved into Stalin's Russia is stretching the meaning of "evolve" too much. Rather, "went extinct and had its niche occupied by a fitter competitor" is an apter description. (Remember I'm talking about social systems here; the fact that the old regime's grandchildren are alive today does not mean the social system didn't go extinct.) Edited to add: I'm in no way claiming that Stalin's Russia was a progressive society. I'm noticing that debating with neoreactionaries tends to blur categories that shouldn't be confused.
For Imperial Russia (and China), maybe. For the US or the United Kingdom, not at all. For much of Western Europe or, say, Japan, not really. In fact, Soviet Russia and Mao's China are also good examples of societies which "went extinct and had its niche occupied by a fitter competitor" :-)
Failed in what way? In that it has given way to modern society? It has still survived a lot longer.
Yes, as Nick Szabo explains in his essay on objective versus intersubjective truth:
This has been tried in many places, the results are generally not encouraging.
The best financial incentives for childrearing are ones that remove the financial deficits caused by having a stay at home mom.
And yet fertility is inversely correlated with income. So it appears that the "people are too poor to raise a family" theory doesn't hold up.
I'd guess by “financial deficits” mayonesa meant opportunity costs, which are higher for a prospective mother in an upper-class career than for one in a welfare trap.
I can only think of two general ways of removing the financial difference between the mother not working and the mother working: a subsidy for the former or laws against the latter. Do you favour either of these, or some other incentive?
Do you mean "between the mother not working and the mother working and hiring a nanny"?
I mean between the mother not working and the mother working and getting the childcare done somehow — or, for that matter, not. Why?
Nevermind, I had misread the thread.
By providing free childcare, or by paying people to be stay at home moms, or both or something else?
By improving working conditions and monetary value so that a home needs only one working parent.
Time was when a home did need only one working parent (that is, working to bring in money). If things are always getting better, and they seem to be (in the developed world, e.g. the Internet, etc.), what changed?
Recently answered in detail on State Star Codex. Basically, two-income families are competing against each other for housing in good areas, driving up prices, and seeing no benefit in disposable income.
SSC is sceptical about whether the effect claimed in the book he's reviewing is big enough to account for the problem.
Ok, now taboo "good area".
Area with good school.
"Good schools" is a euphemism.
And a good school is the sort of school that those families want to send their children to. I don't know anything about how high school education is organised in the US — why is the market not supplying this need?
The goodness of a school is not a property of the school's organizational structure or teaching methodology so much as it is a property of the students who attend the school ("a ghetto/barrio/alternative name for low-class-hell-hole isn't a physical location, its people"). Discrimination on the basis of anything but money is illegal, so good schools are either public schools in areas in which it is expensive to live, or private schools which cannot be attended without paying expensive tuition.
Part is what TheAncientGeek says, part is that present-day children have higher living standards than children a while ago, and if they were OK with earlier children's living standard (and didn't care about status signalling) they could probably get it with one parent's income (see also). (Both Mr. and Mrs. Money Moustache and Julia Wise and Jeff Kaufman are raising children on a tight budget.)
Well, that's certainly ambitious...
No, I didn't think it would work particularly well. What about propaganda campaigns? I am just trying to say that I would be inclined to investigate every possible form of positive reinforcement before resorting to oppression.
I think technology and better framing might be more helpful here. People already screen embryos for known genetic diseases. "Eugenics" has become a scare word, but "help you have healthier (better) children" is something people can applaud...
Perhaps. Interestingly you can raise public approval of reproductive cloning from 10% to 32% by using the technical term 'somatic cell nuclease transfer'.
Tried even more often, also ineffective. Would you mind tabooing "oppression".
Ok, maybe I should have avoided a word with strong emotional connotations such as "oppression". What I mean is physically forcing people to alter their behaviour when this behaviour does not directly impact others (although I fear I may now need to taboo 'directly'). 'Negative reinforcement' would probably be a better choice of phrase. To be clear, this covers the criminalisation of homosexuality, but I wouldn't necessarily count not recognising gay marriage as oppression. Would criminalising homosexuality be effective at increasing birth rates, or would gays then just not marry anyone and still not have children?
If the primary goal is to get people to have more children, perhaps the propaganda campaign should be to denormalize not having children. On the other hand, that one doesn't seem to work, either.
That was what I meant - did you think I meant a propaganda campaign against homosexuality?
homosexuality != infertility
I feel the need to point out that I started by saying I don't actually think this is very plausible. Its a hypothetical.
Ok, missed that hypothesis.
The more important thing is to stop teaching children that homosexuality is a "perfectly normal lifestyle" and that they should "find out if they're gay". As for dealing with population decline here are Jim's views and suggestions on the subject.
The statistics about fertility rates in Nepal corresponding closely to level of education are telling. Education past the age of 12 has to be having some effect. But what is the mechanism? Jim hypothesizes that there is a subtle indoctrination that begins in school around that age that dissuades women from having children. Perhaps a little bit...but is that all there really is to it? Let's think about this for a second: let's imagine that it were legal for girls in the U.S. to drop out of school at 13. (I think the current legal age is 16). What does a 13 year old girl do in American society if she isn't going to school? What can she usefully do? She could theoretically get a job. There are probably some jobs that a 13-year old could be reasonably good at...like coffee house barista. Or maybe just the coffee house barista's helper who buses the tables. How hard are those jobs, really? But, how's a 13 year old going to get that sort of job when the job market is swarming with over-qualified college graduates who can't get work in their fields of study, will be at least marginally more effective at those jobs (perhaps in terms of social interactions with the patrons or ancillary skills they might have picked up in college), and who will also be willing to work for minimum wage? So a 13-year old drop-out can't reasonably expect to get a job. So, what about marriage and kids? Can a 13-year old reasonably expect to find a man who is at least vaguely within her age range (<18 years old) who is willing and ABLE to support her and her kids? I noticed that this Jim guy pins a lot of the blame on Western women not wanting to have kids. Now, do we actually have evidence for this? Do we in fact know that it is not the Western MEN who are hesitant about having to provide for kids? I myself have a beautiful wife who would make for a great mother, both genetically and in terms of raising kids, but the thought of having kids seems just insane to me right now. Why? I make ab
And yet fertility is negatively correlated with income. Bingo. Except its perfectly possible to raise "nice middle-class" kids without micromanagement, your parents' generation did just that. Really, I get the feeling that these days people don't pay much attention to their neighbors, also why do you care what they think? Also in the "old days" the neighbors would look down on someone who divorces or has sex outside of marriage rather than someone who's a non-helicopter parent. Why did this change? Probably not if you live in a neighborhood without thugs, granted this is becoming harder now that progressives are transporting thugs out of ghettos to other neighborhoods in the name of diversity.
Does that still hold when controlling for IQ, conscientiousness, age and religion?
I imagine that, if I were making more money, I would be working more hours, which would mean I would have less time for parenting, which would make parenting even more unattractive. (This is under the assumption, which might be mistaken as you point out, that good parenting requires lots of money and time). So basically, Westerners have gotten more picky about having children to the point of insisting on having a lot of free time AND a high income, AND for child-rearing to be a more intrinsically interesting activity than other things they could be doing with that time and money (say, being an unemployed millionaire who trades stocks and plays poker for fun). Time, money, and interest have all become necessary, but not sufficient conditions. I think this has to do with the vast increase in the number of fun distractions in modern society. As a farmer in Sub-Saharan Africa, what does one do with one's time? Herd cattle? Why not have kids? They are like little super-intelligent robots that you can help program and develop. How neat! That sort of technology pretty much blows every other entertainment they would have right out of the water. But Westerners? They think, "Oh, whoop-de-do, a super-intelligent robot that you can help program and develop...but which you will also be responsible for and which may occasionally be stressful...no thanks, I'm more interested in football/LessWrong/youtube/something that is equally interesting but not as stressful." Nah, my parents helicoptered and micromanaged. But if you want to talk about my parents' parents' generation, then yes. The thing is, they didn't really raise good middle-class kids, in that my father ended up being a roofer and my mother a housewife. Neither graduated college until my mother went back to school after my siblings had gotten out of high school. Not that it hurt them too much in their generation. My father made good money at roofing. Would the money still be as good? I don't know. By "neighbors," I mea
You seem to have strange ideas about what constitutes "middle class". How about making it harder to bond with your spouse when you do settle down?
B strikes me as unlikely, or at least not much more likely than it was twenty years ago when I was a largely unsupervised preteen. Everything I've read about childrearing suggests that parenting style (short of abuse or utter neglect) has very little effect, suggesting in turn that the contemporary norms of "good parenting" have much more to do with signaling than actual outcomes. The popularity of a belief is, strictly speaking, evidence against its being a delusion, but it isn't necessarily very strong evidence. Especially in a field as rife with superstition and bullshit as parenting.
I think there are plausible claims that helicopter parenting can be psychologically damaging. Maybe find some beneficial activities which require little oversight. Giving someone a book requires less work than driving them to Karate lessons.
FWIW, as of the last LW survey women and men were about equally likely to want (more) children (though they're not necessarily a representative sample of Western people).
Also keep in mind something people quickly discovered when they first started doing market researcher. What people say they want can be very different from their actual revealed preferences.
It's not obvious that revealed preferences are necessarily more “actual” than stated preferences [1, 2]. In any event it takes both a man and a woman to conceive a child; how do we disentangle their revealed preferences from each other?
The question is what causes more or fewer children to be conceived. Jim argues with some evidence that a major factor is relative status of men and women.
So why don't you get a job?
Given that he wrote the answer would appear to be that he has tried to get a better job and so far been unsuccessful. Your question, on the other hand, seems to presume that he hasn't tried and isn't trying. Do you have some relevant knowledge that makes that an appropriate presumption?
A full-time job is more or less 2,000 hours/year. The federal mininum wage is $7.25/hour and the state minimum wage is often a bit higher. 2000 * 7.25 = $14,500/year. Someone who managed to get a master's degree can probably manage to get a job at higher that the federal minimum wage -- if only he'd be willing to ignore the status considerations and just get down into the blue-collar trenches. At the time I was very poor I worked, basically, as a construction worker for cash. If you don't have any money, working as a "part-time adjunct" is silly.
Well, I don't know what he's tried, or what work is available where he is, or whether getting down into the blue-collar trenches would worsen his chance of getting a better job later. Unless you have specific knowledge of Matthew's situation, asking "why don't you get a job?" and telling him that working at the job he actually has is "silly" has, to me, a definite whiff of Qu'ils mangent de la brioche about it.
Not quite -- been there, done it, didn't care about the T-shirt.
It is not necessarily safe to assume that because you could do it, Matthew can do it. His circumstances could be relevantly different in many ways. (I apologize if this is insultingly obvious. I'm pointing it out only because your comments seem not to acknowledge its obviousness.)
Well, of course. But I don't claim certainty. All I offer is opinions and opinions about people over the internet are quite likely to be hilariously wrong. That's the well-known baseline and reciting it in every post will get tiring pretty quickly. In any case, in my badly informed opinion Matthew lives in poverty because of status considerations which prevent him from taking on a lower-status but a better-paying job. Unless he has severe disabilities, earning more than $10K/year is not hard at all.
“‘Never Settle’ Is A Brag” (or, as the SJWs put it, “check your privilege”).
I'm not telling the OP to follow his dream -- I'm telling him to get out of the bottom income quantile of his peers.
Why? Will that make it vanish?
It will certainly decrease it.
AFAIK there is no scientific consensus on the cause of homosexuality, so we can't really know whether de-normalising homosexuality will have any affect on its prevalence. The fact that there are gays in cultures that do not accept homosexuality shows that it cannot be all choice/normaliseation, so the question is whether normaliseation is a factor at all.
So your argument amounts to since there is no scientific consensus we should assume its 100% genetic. But the number of gays is significantly smaller.
You: Me: No, I'm arguing for agnosticism on the issue due to lack of data. I know arguments like this are generally rhetorical, but on LW it is possible that people mean exactly what they say. The number of people who publicly identify as gay is smaller. It is possible that homosexuality is 100% genetic (or epigenetic), its also possible that its partially due to environment. [edit: In retrospect I wasn't communicating very clearly, because epigenetic effects are caused by environmental factors. See my next comment] So denormalising homosexuality would result in the expected number of gays decreasing, using 'expected' in the probability theory scene.
So do you agree that denormalizing homosexuality would decrease the number of gays? Um, why are you assigning the "100% genetic" comparable probability to the "not 100% genetic hypothesis"? I could equally well say its possible its 100% due to environment.
Time to look at the evidence (I've read it before, but this time I'll actually quote it). Via wikipedia: Schooling is a shared environment, so my estimate is that denormalizing homosexuality would have barely any effect upon male gays and might decrease lesbians by at most 16%. Of course, if all Swedish people are tolerant of homosexuality, then the study would not have had a chance to detect the effect of de-normalisation. When I said this: In retrospect I wasn't communicating very clearly, because epigenetic effects are caused by environmental factors. So to be more precise, its 34-39% genetic and some percent epigenetic.
So did the study contain twins where one of them didn't go to school. I'm not sure about all, but Sweden is probably a rather uniform environment these days.
Good point! I dunno much about Swedish schooling, but a brief search seems to indicate that there are religious schools, which presumably do not normalise homosexuality to the same extent as the prog schools. Its also possible maybe some of them are homeschooled? Your turn, do you have any evidence that de-normalisation would decrease the prevalence of gays?
Given how progressive the Church of Sweden is, they probably do. For starters the fact that there are a lot more gays among the younger generation, i.e., the people who grew up while it was being normalized.
Will the two of you taboo “gays”? Do you mean men who are attracted to men, or men who have sex with men? Some of the former don't act upon their attraction. (And I have a pet hypothesis that these men have historically made up a sizeable fraction of Catholic priests, but that's another story.)
I assume Sweden also has Catholics/Jews/Muslims. It's also true that sperm counts are dropping, and I would guess that there is a common cause. Maybe because plastics leak estrogen-mimicking chemicals?
According to Wikipedia 5% Muslim, 2% Catholic and fewer Jews. Well the Muslims are poorly assimilated to quite possible didn't participate in the study at all, in any case I doubt the study contains a case of two twins one of whom was raised Muslim and the other wasn't. And I doubt there are many Catholic schools there. That's one theory. I'm more inclined to suspect memetic causes, as Jim puts it here:
Ok. I didn't think it would be as low as 2%, which does lower the utility of that study. Since testosterone levels change due to danger, dominance, talking to attractive women etc, I would say there is some theoretical justification for this. We need more than an inclination, we need empirical data. For instance, if women are being more dominant and this is causing homosexuality, then a testable hypothesis is that socially dominant groups ought to be less gay. Do people from working class backgrounds have higher rates of homosexuality than elites?
Its more complicated since being socially dominant is not quite the same as being locally dominant in everyday life. Look at your typical "bad neighborhood" the people there aren't socially dominant. But there are a lot of people there being dominant often violently so.
But I imagine it would at least correlate. Anyway, there should be other ways to test the idea. For a start, are the children of feminists disproportionately gay?
Yeah, because no gay men are manly and tough.
Looking at okcupid data gay men are considerably less adventurous, aggressive, violent and confident than straight men, with the opposite pattern in lesbians. Pity they don't have the data for bisexuals.
Good point. Grandparent retracted. Still, do we know that toughness causes heterosexuality, rather than vice versa, or than something else causing both? Otherwise Jim's proposal doesn't make much sense.
(Upvoted for changing your mind easily) I would assume that its hormone levels in utero or in adolescence as the common cause.
Would you also point that out about twin studies on traits other than homosexuality?
Yes, as it happens.
A better counter-argument to this just occurred to me: if Sweden's attitude to homosexuality was entirely uniform, then there would not be a shared environment effect upon the prevalence of lesbianism, which there is.
Well, as long as we don't teach children that homosexuals are evil, this seems acceptable to me. After all, we don't teach children about BDSM (do we?) even though BDSM relationships could lead to children. As for Jim's views, well, blaming feminism does seem a lot more realistic than blaming gays, although his views are not without their own problems. Women don't enjoy sex? I had a conversation with an Indian friend of mine a while ago, who was telling me about a friend of hers who was in a forced marriage. At the wedding the bride was in tears (of sadness), hugging her friends and refusing to let go. While I can see that highly intelligent women not having children can be a source of concern for anyone who does not believe that the singularity will ride in and save the day, I'd like to think there is a better third option that does not cause emotional damage. Not that reality conforms to what I want to believe...
As far as I know not yet (outside of may be some of the most progressive schools). However, if progressivism continues on its current track within several decades sentiments like that will be considered "anti-BDSM hate speech". Women don't enjoy sex with men whose status is equal to or lower than theirs. Do you know what her life and happiness level are like now? Would you guess she's better or worse off than the women who freely chose to marry Henry?

A few ironically contradictory things just struck me about these topics:

1) If you want to be in a patriarchal relationship, then the most politically correct way to describe this is to say its a D/s kink thing. Helps if there's actual spanking involved. Actually, I think it is accurate to say that among my peer goup, traditional relationships would be regarded as a kink.

2) Being pro-arranged marriages isn't PC because feminism, but being anti-arranged marriages isn't PC because you are being intolerant of Indian culture.

1) If you want to be in a patriarchal relationship, then the most politically correct way to describe this is to say its a D/s kink thing. Helps if there's actual spanking involved.

There is in fact a significant overlap between "game" and BDSM, the latter not merely in the "kinky bedroom games" sense, but as an ideology about what constitutes natural and proper relations between men and women. For example, the well-known Roissy blogger takes his pseudonym from "The Story of O", whose action (ho ho) largely takes place at a chateau near the French town of Roissy. Back when his blog was called "Roissy in D.C" (paralleling the full name of the real town, Roissy-en-France) the masthead picture was a still from the film of the book. And surely the least important aspect of John Norman's notorious Gor novels is the overt BDSM activities.

1) Agree. I find that even monogamy gives me the creeps unless I think of it as kink. 2) Nitpick: unforced arranged marriages happen too. I would say that being anti those might be un-PC, but being anti-forced marriages is entirely PC. Admittedly the boundary between encouragement to marry the selected partner and being forced is not too sharp.

Women don't enjoy sex with men whose status is equal to or lower than theirs.

Citation needed?

While I can't speak from personal experience (I'm neither a woman, nor did I have plenty of sexual partners to compare with) this doesn't strike me as true based on conversations I had about the subject.

The fact that there are people who make stupid (grossly sub-optimal w.r.t. their own preferences) life decisions is a cost for a society which in general gives people substantial freedom to make their own decisions. The classical liberal position is that this kind of freedom benefits most people. It might harm a few of them, but this is considered an acceptable trade-off. In a traditional, arranged marriage system, where marriage is negotiated between the parents of the prospective spouses, you have that in general the parents' interests don't perfectly track the interests of their children. Moreover, while stupid children might be protected from their stupidity by smarter parents, smart children might be harmed by stupid parents that pick bad matches for them.
Children's intelligence correlates with their parents, while their parents have more life experience, so on average parental advice ought to be fairly good.
Ceteris paribus, yes, but arranged marriage systems generally entail little time for the parents to get to know the prospective spouse for their child (up to the extreme case of black-box marriage) and generally also make divorce difficult or impossible. Overall, I think that, even if the parents interests are perfectly lined to the interests of their child, the chances of landing a bad match and getting stuck with it are higher in an arranged marriage system than in a free-choice system. South Asia, where arranged marriages are still commonplace, with its high rates of domestic violence (India, Pakistan) and honor killings, is a piece of evidence pointing in that direction.
Maybe there is a compromise, where children listen to their parent's advice and take it seriously (as opposed to doing the opposite because they want to rebel) but in the end make their own decisions. And social norms could be pro-natalist without endorsing domestic violence.
I can imagine this future. I certainly wouldn't say that there's anything wrong with BDSM, but probably best to leave it to adults to discover of their own accord. Oh, ok now I understand. Reminds me of a woman I once knew who decided she couldn't associate (romantically or platonically) with any of her colleagues who were younger and lower-status than her, whether male or female. Its interesting, because she describes herself as a communist. No, but I'd guess she's probably better off than that woman. I've already read that SSC article, and I understand your point, but I would hope that there is some way of avoiding the Henrys of the world without anyone ever having to say "If I try to run away from home my family will break my legs". Of course, there is a difference between forced marriages and arranged marriages.
I don't thing even Jim advocates going that far. His position is more, "if I run away from home no one will financially support me and my status will go through the floor".
It is true that the case I mentioned is a fairly extreme (but real) example, and not representative of arranged marriages in general. There is still a problem that even if it works in the case of benevolent and wise parents, it is really open to abuse.
The question is whether it on average works better than letting women chose their boyfriends and husbands without any parental oversight.
Do you have an objective way to answer this question? Also, are you proposing that men get to choose mates without parental oversight, possibly due to waiting longer to marry due to staying fertile longer?
You can compare happiness or fertility or whatever your favorite metric is between cultures that have different attitudes about this. Do men tend to make bad choices? Who are the male equivalents of Henry's wives?
Well, a quick search seems to indicate that there's no difference in average happyness and it seems probable that this could solve problems of dysgenics (assuming that the 'right sort of people' adopt this as quick or quicker than average) so I think I shall concede this point. Everyone makes bad choices. Men are the victims of emotionally abusive relationship at the same rate as women (the technical term for this is 'pussy whipped') although women are abused physically more.
Even the Greeks would regard gay marriage as highly perverse.
This is an interesting point - I remember reading that heterosexual marriage with bisexual affairs was the norm in Sparta, but what was the Greek attitude towards homosexual love (as opposed to bisexuals?). Of course, I suspect they would have regarded childless hetro marriage (due to contraception) as perverse too.
They didn't categorize themselves in those terms.
I'd suggest consulting a source that's actually researched, e.g., Wikipedia on the subject. Ancient Greek pederasty doesn't seem to have been a form of domination sex — arguably unlike a great deal of premodern heterosexual conduct.
Your link goes to an article on pederasty, i.e., sexual relations between an adult and a child. This is one of the categories Eric discusses and is not the same as what he calls "romantic homosexuality" between partners of comparable age and status.
... and your response makes it clear you didn't read it. Sigh.
I doubt that using graffiti as your primary source will give you a clear view of social norms. Even if I did accept that article, it still maintains that romantic love exists among lesbians.
See also Haidt's TED talk. “everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same”

First of all, I applaud your courage!

It does seem strange that a website commonly associated with techno-futurism, such as LessWrong, would end up with even the most tangential networked association with an intellectual current, such as neoreaction, that commonly includes nostalgia for absolute monarchies and other avatistic obessions.

Not so strange when you take into account they appeal to the same intellectual hipster personality.

Perhaps blame it on Yvain, AKA Scott Alexander of slatestarcodex.com for attaching this strange intellectual node to Le

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That is because they do not currently see dysgenic decline as a problem. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. But if they ever became convinced that it was a serious problem...that the only people who were willing to voluntarily restrain their reproduction were the smart ones, and the Earth was getting re-populated only by the less-smart ones on average, to the extent that it threatened the very maintenance of civilization...yes, if somehow you could convince progressives of this (imagine if perhaps the world had indeed turned into a carbon-copy of the world in the movie "Idiocracy" and no progressives could deny it any more...well, what would progressives do? Agree to the social darwinism that the neoreactionaries offer? No way. Plug their fingers in their ears and pretend the problem didn't exist? Not if the problem were self-evidently bad enough. Depend on voluntary initiatives? Then you are right back to the problem. The only way I could see of seriously addressing the problem while remaining true to progressivist principles would be a global eugenics program overseen by a democratic world government. This is the logical endpoint of progressivist principles when applied to this problem. And you know...me personally, I would be fine with such a eugenics program.
This is a good illustration of the difference between how Progressives and NRx approach problems. First a Neoreactionary would point out the obvious problem with this approach: you have democratic governments attempting to implement eugenic policies which will affect what the future voters will be like. Thus this system has a very strong and undesirable attractor, namely the politicians eugenically breed the kind of people who will reelect them. The NRx approach to dealing with proliferation of low time preference people is to reduce/eliminate the welfare state and let them die out as a natural consequence of their own short sighted behavior.

The NRx approach to dealing with proliferation of low time preference people is to reduce/eliminate the welfare state and let them die out as a natural consequence of their own short sighted behavior.

As far as I can tell, people with low time preference didn't die out in the past, when welfare states were smaller (when they existed at all). Which suggests to me that the NRx approach wouldn't achieve the goal set by its proponents.

Getting rid of elections will really help with that,
I can't tell if you're trying to be sarcastic, but it very well might. A unelected king has an interest in the success and prosperity of his kingdom. An elected politician has that interest only as long as he can ensure he keeps getting elected. Thus giving him a tool for getting reelected that's at best orthogonal to the good of the state is a very dangerous thing to do.
A sane and competent king has an interest in the success and prosperity of his kingdom. An insane or incompetent one is there for life. Unlike an elected politician.
No, an unelected king has an interest in the amount of success and prosperity that can be extracted from his country and transferred to himself and (possibly) his heirs. The rulers of North Korea live like, well, kings, and their country has a lower GDP per capita than Bangladesh and Sudan.
But they aren't Kings. In particular there is nothing in the North Korean "constitution" that says the son of the previous ruler will inherit. This means they must spend all their effort scheming to have the family stay in power. Also because of this they behave in a more short sighted manner than they would otherwise.
If you think Kings never do this, you know little about history.
This is indeed true - military dictatorships, including the Roman Empire, tend to be notoriously insecure and horrible at dealing with succession - but even European monarchs have had plenty of disputed successions and civil wars.
That's because you're taking the highlights from over a millennium of history over multiple countries. Here are a few examples from MoreRight of systematically going through all Kings in a dynasty and evaluating them.
OTOH, same applied to Venetian doges and yet as far I can tell medieval/early modern Venice wasn't a hellhole by medieval/early modern standards, so that's not all that's going on.
A century ago, the predecessors to today's progressives explicitly described a lot of the human species as suboptimal, and they advocated improving the breed. H.G. Wells, for example, wrote: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19229/19229-h/19229-h.htm

One aspect of the art of rationality is locating the true sources of disagreement between two parties who want to communicate with each other, but who can't help but talk past each other in different languages due to having radically different pre-existing assumptions.

I believe that this is the problem that any discourse between neoreaction and progressivism currently faces

Actually no. The organised political left is not wanting to communicate with neoreactionists. Neoreactionists are not even on the radar of most left wing political thinkers.

The whole... (read more)

Progressivism is a well-established concept - it's the umbrella category that includes the Social Justice movement, European social democracy, members of the Democratic Party in the US, statist environmentalists, etc. In terms of the flawed left-right spectrum, progressivism is the ideology of those between the socialists and the center. More broadly, "progressivism" is sometimes used to refer to left-wing thought in general. However, "progressivism" as the term is used by reactionaries is even broader - it means "not a conservative or a reactionary". I've come across reactionaries labeling the libertarian Cato Institute as progressive, though neither libertarians nor self-identified progressives would agree with that terminology. Sometimes reactionaries ascribe views to progressives that self-identified progressives would find abhorrent. IMO, the ideological distance between actual progressivism and reaction is smaller than the distance between actual progressivism and "progressivism" as reactionaries imagine it.
Yes, I've realized that neoreactionaries use the term "progressive" to basically mean "post-Enlightenment thought" in general. And that is the way I am using the term in this thread. Edit: Except there is that tricky problem that neoreactionaries trace the origins of "progressivism" and "the Cathedral" back even farther to "ultra-Calvinism" and the Protestant Reformation. So I guess "progressivism" is post-Reformation thought, which would include Enlightenment thought and New Deal liberalism as further signposts along that road?

I suspect that the neo-reactionary conception of "progressivism" is outgroup homogeneity bias at work.

Dunno, I'm very firmly not neoreactionary, and reading about neoreaction makes me feel like there really is a meaningful category that, at the very least, libertarians and US mainstream liberals both belong to, since I've largely transitioned between aforesaid two groups and it felt like a much smaller jump than from either to neoreaction.
It's a spectrum, I think. There is a meaningful category (something like "consequentalist pro-market individualists") that includes some libertarians and some American liberals, but this category wouldn't include all libertarians or all progressives, e.g. Hans-Herman Hoppe and most SJWs would be outside this category. In fact, once you get to Hoppe, you're basically next door to neo-reaction, and the more tribalist post-modernist anti-cultural-mixing SJWs seem close to reaction as well.
How so? I would disagree with that: there's nothing in reaction against cultural mixing (for that matter, nationalism / ethnic self-determination is a minority position -- remember Moldbug's position on the British Empire), and the ethical intuitions are completely different. I'm not sure what the closest area to neoreaction outside the right is. I've met some very interesting Communists, but I'm not sure that particular type exists outside that corner of the internet.

Horseshoe theory: as you go towards the extreme ends of the political spectrum, positions become more similar to each other rather than to mainstream positions. It may not be literaly true in all cases, but it does seem to be a valuable heuristic, North Korea is the most obvious example.

As for SJWs vs NRs, SJWs are often accused of being misandrists and anti-white racists, while NRs are, more or less overtly, male supremacists and white supremacists.
It could be argued that these are both instances of tribalism, although in the SJWs case there is usually also some degree of counter-signalling, since most of them are white and perhaps half of them are male.
Futhermore, both movements are essentially totalitarian, as they seek to police aspects of people's lives which are considered to be outside government jurisdiction under classical liberalism (e.g., public expression, sexual and romantic life, and, to some extent, private contracts and hiring practices).


Oh, almost forgot: "Patriarchy/Rape culture" vs. "the Cathedral", or, how to explain away the fact that the world hasn't already adopted our obviously saner and morally superior ideology by assuming that they must all be infected by some sort of vague, unfalsifiable, memetic virus we just made up.

"The Cathedral", according to Moldbug, is those high-status industries and positions which shape public opinion and public policy - roughly, the respectable press (i.e. not the National Enquirer), Hollywood, the Ivy League, Southern Poverty Law Center, etc. It's not a way of explaining away anything; it's an attribution of blame for how present public opinion has turned out, combined with an assertion that these information organs form a natural group (left). Somewhere between Moldbug's rants about how the big universities should be torn down and their grounds sown with salt and their professors forbidden to teach ever again, there are some statements with a bit more gravitas.

Falsifiable assertion: The New York Times and publications like it will report on (for example) the SPLC's assertions with a tone of "and we should do as the SPLC says", but will report on (for example) the Pope's assertions and the Vatican with a tone of "and isn't it strange how Catholics believe such funny things?" (Unstated premise creating relevancy: The NYT has higher status than Fox News. General form: Left-wing media outlets have higher status, and closer ties to high-stat... (read more)

And "Patriarchy/Rape culture", according to SJWs, is those high-status industries and positions which shape public opinion and public policy - roughly, the respectable press, Hollywood, the Silicon Valley, the video games industry, the Ivy League, and so on. Do they? Anyway, there is no question that conservative (can we say that Fox News is neoreactionary?) and leftist media outlets exist, and at some point some one side may be more popular than the other. The point is that both SJWs and NRs perceive their "enemy" not limited to some specific people or organizations, but as a diffused cultural element, which is thought to somehow "brainwash" the uninitiated into not seeing the obvious Truth of the One True Ideology. This is similar to the religious fundamentalists preoccupation with the Devil's influence, or the militant communists preoccupation with bourgeois propaganda. In fact, it could be argued that the defining trait of radical movements is a black-and-white morality that paints themselves as the morally righteous brave knights who fight a world of corruption.
This is not something I have ever seen asserted, and it sounds to me as though you are drawing a false parallellism here, so I'd be curious to see which SJWs that is according to. Moldbug points to a set of organizations when he says "Cathedral", and you could taboo the word into a list starting with the NYT. The descriptions of "Patriarchy" I've heard generally point to an institutional culture + its internalization in people's heads + the structure of power relations + male default on ungendered mentions of persons, etc. No. Or at least, please don't. From the Open Letter to Open Minded Progressives: "Where does this idea that, if NPR is wrong, Fox News must be right, come from? They can't both be right, because they contradict each other. But couldn't they both be wrong? I don't mean slightly wrong, I don't mean each is half right and each is half wrong, I don't mean the truth is somewhere between them, I mean neither of them has any consistent relationship to reality. [...] you and I and [conservatism] agree on the subject of the international Jewish conspiracy: there is no such thing. We disagree with [nazism], which fortunately is scarce these days. This can be explained in many ways, but one of the simplest is that if Fox News stuck a swastika in its logo and told Bill O'Reilly to start raving about the Elders of Zion, its ratings would probably go down. This is what I mean by "no consistent relationship to reality." If, for whatever reason, an error is better at replicating within the conservative mind than the truth, conservatives will come to believe the error. If the truth is more adaptive, they will come to believe the truth. It's fairly easy to see how an error could make a better story than the truth on Fox News, which is why one would be ill-advised to get one's truth from that source." NR would like to distance itself from conservatism. Imagine you're kidnapped by inconvenient plot-driving aliens and dropped off a thousand years ago in, say, the
Horseshoe theory can't tell the difference between actual similarities, contingent effects of the existing political spectrum (contrarian personality types, say, or people who see the problems with the existing ideology but don't have answers and end up jumping back and forth between alternatives), and absence of traits unique to the ideology of the observer. It's also a useful propaganda tool: If the public/private divide as thought by classical liberalism is unique to classical liberalism, of course things will look like a horseshoe: as you go further from classical liberalism, you see that the importance of/adherence to the classical liberal public/private divide falls away -- which must mean everything that isn't classical liberalism is the same, right? No. I'm not sure where you're getting the stuff about NRs favoring government regulation in private contracts and hiring practices. Or the "accused of"/"are, more or less overtly..." distinction: many SJWs show overt hatred (resentment weakly disguised as contempt, as resentment usually is), and if anything, resentment-based hatreds ought to be treated as more worrisome than contempt-based hatreds, since most genocides are committed out of resentment, and most of the exceptions (like those of the British Empire*) are motivated by a drive for lebensraum, which doesn't really apply here. * Obligatory footnote to avoid connotationally reinforcing a common misconception: the vast majority of the killing in the Americas was done by Old World diseases and was inevitable given contact before the development of modern epidemic control, and the smallpox blankets are generally considered to be a myth. I'm not sure what the statistics look like for Australia.
I'm aware of one case (the siege of Fort Pitt, during Pontiac's Rebellion) that seems to be reasonably well documented. There doesn't seem to be consensus that it was effective, though, and smallpox existed among the Lenape before the incident.
Horseshoe theory seems to me like declaring North on a compass rose to be "middle", and saying as you go further "east" or "west" around the compass, the extreme east and extreme west gradually become more similar to each other. This is a mismapping resulting from the confusion of "east" with "counterclockwise starting from north" and west likewise - to restore the analogy to its origin, I think the political axis has here gotten mixed up with some other attribute or set of attributes. To look at it another way: I could place the horseshoe so it's quasi-centered (middled?) on anything. Suppose I center it on, for example environmentalism, and declare the sides to be ordered by religion. Then I could argue that moderation is most compatible with environmentalism, while going towards the extreme end of the "religious spectrum" leads to the two sides becoming more similar to each other than to environmentalism - but this is really a feature of antitheists and fundamentalists both being non-environmentalists, which all look alike from the environmentalist position!
Which is in fact true. Perhaps a more apt analogy is that, as you go north, east and west become less distinguished, up to the North Pole, where going east and going west reduce to spinning around yourself counterclockwise or clockwise while standing at the same spot. In this analogy, the North Pole would be ideal totalitarianism, where the government micromanages its subjects' lives in great detail, it is always right and doesn't even have to explain itself since it is its own source of legitimacy, and nobody can question its ways. Real-life North Korea sits close to the North Pole. Classical liberalism/"Progressivism" would be perhaps the South Pole or maybe the Equator.
I think the most appropriate category is "classical liberalism", which encompasses positions ranging from most forms of social-democracy (roughly corresponding to mainstream US liberals, if I understand US politics correctly) to most forms of neoliberalism (Thatcherism-Reaganism) and libertarianism. From Wikipedia: "Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality.[1] Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property." This excludes fascism, theocracy, oligarchy, absolute monarchy, neoreaction (a mixture of the previous items), most forms of communism, and some extreme forms of social justice (the dreaded SJWs).
I think you're treating it much too widely. I don't consider the European social democrats or the US progressives to fall under "classical liberalism".
Classical liberalism is more pro-market than social democrats or mainstream US progressives are. As I've seen it used, it has three common meanings: 1. Pre-20th century libertarians and proto-libertarians. 2. Modern libertarians who aren't minarchists, anarchists, or social conservatives. Sometimes they're called "moderate libertarians", though they aren't necessarily moderate. At other times they're called "pragmatic libertarians", which may be somewhat more accurate. 3. A general ideology that encompasses classical liberals of the first two definitions as well as minarchists and anarcho-capitalists.
c.f. the Cathedral, which is an attempt to frame the culture that the rest of us call "Western civilisation as it is now" as a conspiracy, or something enough like a conspiracy to speak of in the terms appropriate to one.
Well, Jim Donald's definition of leftism roughly boils down to meme's optimized to spread through government power.
When Googling on Social Europe I only find them using the term progressivism to refer to the US. They may speak about about progressive policies but not use the term progressivism when speaking about European policies. In the European context I haven't heard the word progressivism as referring to third way policies. Third way policies usually get justified by saying that we have no other choice instead of being justified by themselves shaping society as we want society to be. I think the Social Justice movement came out of postmodernism and Woodrow Wilsons progressivism was modern in nature.

I think the Social Justice movement came out of postmodernism

The term approximately as we know it was used by Catholics in the 19th Century, coined in the 1840s by Jesuit priest Luigi Taparelli. (How we got from there to Tumblr is an interesting journey but an approximately continuous one.)

Is there a history of the term anywhere? I'd be interested in seeing how it got here from there.
I've been desperately in search of a good history as I seek to decrappify the RW article on the topic, which is rather too cobbled-together (and the SJWiki one doesn't even try for a history). So if anyone has something handy ... (The stereotypical Tumblr SJW phenomenon seems to have escaped academic notice. This actually surprised me when I went looking, given I know how rabid sociology students are in seeking out new subcultural study fodder.)
Not sure I agree. Progressivism seems to be used in more or less the same sense that it would be in mainstream (at least US) political discourse, albeit perhaps somewhat broader. "Demotism", however, does seem to be a fabricated category. This is true, but you can make an argument against Exit as a strong check on abuse, or as a strong selective force, without invoking anywhere nearly as bad as North Korea. The social forces keeping people in place are very powerful in comparison to political convictions: for example you got a lot of liberal Americans talking about moving to Canada or the like during the Bush era, but not one in a hundred actually did, despite the fact that doing so would have been quite easy as emigration goes.
There are plenty of people who call themselves progressive but they usually don't speak of progressivism. Progressivism is a term about a political battle at the beginning of the 20th century. Woodrow Wilson was practicing progressivism. Neoreacon tend to argue as if the positions of the left in the 21th century are the same as those of Wilson. Investor state dispute settlement is a very new policy tool. The whole idea of corporations as people is very new. We engaged in deregulation. You find few people on the left who see that change as progress that's to be celebrated because history moves forward. In Germany Agenda 2010 came out of the third way. Cutting pensions isn't what progressivism envisions. It not the kind of history moving forward that's to be celebrated. While neoliberal think tanks build a worldview that allowed the financial sectors to get deregulated, the left lacks a real counterproposal and a vision at the moment. Quite frequently people on the left want to defend the status quo these days.
I know about the Progressive Era. However, the term's stayed alive (or been revived) in the US as a loose synonym for "leftist" or "liberal" (in the American sense), which have pejorative connotations in some quarters over here; consider for example the Congressional Progressive Caucus, founded in 1991 to represent the Democratic Party's leftist wing. Since most prominent neoreactionaries are American, that's probably the sense in which they mean it. It is not a sense unique to neoreaction. American leftists are aware of the novelty of the policy tools you mentioned, but they're likely to see them as novel means to regressive ends. Since neoreaction essentially assumes the American Left's future-historical schema (as a default, and with different emotional valance), it's likely to agree. As to neoreaction lumping Woodrow Wilson's policy goals with those of, say, Ralph Nader, that is a potential weakness. It's not one I was trying to explore in the grandparent, though, and I don't think the terminology is very revealing given what I've already discussed.
Plenty of people call themselves progressive. That doesn't mean that they see themselves as adhering to something called progressivism. Otherwise link to a few American politicians who use the term progressivism to describe their own policies. From what I read of neocon thought, I don't think that's the case. There were no multinational corporations a hundred years ago. You can't regress to a state of multinational corporations as they are in their nature a new phenomenon. To quote Moldbug Cthulhu always swims left. That was part of the Marxist idea of history. Sooner or later the left wins, because it's the right side and we know it's the right side because sooner or later it wins. We know this because when we look at the past the left always won. Somehow it's not the freedom of the individual worker that rises as time goes on but corporation have became people that also claim their freedom. Those corporations seem even better at claiming freedom than workers. Neoliberalism also destroys traditional values of nation states but not in the way socialism does. To Molburg it might be both Cthulhu but the difference matters a big deal in the modern political discourse.
Don't make too much of the "-ism" suffix. Neoreactionaries generally don't believe the overwhelming majority of modern politics to be dictated by members of a capital-P Progressivist sect, vivid cathedral analogy notwithstanding; instead, they see said politics as conforming if unchecked to a vaguely Marxian notion of progress ever leftward (because Cthulhu), which is roughly unitary since the late Enlightenment (also because Cthulhu), and which they sometimes call progressive (because that's the neutral word for a leftward tendency in American politics). "Progressivism" then is merely how you form the word for the corresponding ideology. But since you asked...
Lately Cthulhu brought deregulation of the financial sector, corporate personhood, reduced maximum tax rate and Investor State Dispute Settlement. Of course neoliberalism that produces those policies and with lately drives much of Cthulhu's direction can be thought of as an extension of left liberalism of the 19th century but today's left doesn't like it. Of course the cathedral produces corporate personhood and the cathedral deregulated the financial sector but if that's what you call "progressivism" people that call themselves progressive aren't in favor of that. Today's left doesn't. It doesn't like that corporations gain more and more powerful as things progress. It's afraid of technology. Just look at GMO. Do you see today's left celebrating GMO's as valuable progress that moves society forward, the way the left did celebrate nuclear power in the 1950's and 1960's? Of course the cathedral produces GMO's but if you label that position that supports GMO's as progressivism than people who self label as progressives don't really hold that position strongly.
The first sentence of the article:
...and? Let's take any contemporary multinational, say Sony. Wikipedia (emphasis mine):
Actually the sentence you cite does contain the word "multinational' while the above sentence I cited doesn't. There a trend that modern multinational corporations don't feel like they belong to any single country. Of cause they tend to comply as much with local laws as necessary to avoid getting into trouble but they don't they themselves as belonging to any single nation.
The East India Company had its own currency, military vessels, and colonial governors. It effectively functioned like an independent state, much like our modern corporations seem to want to one day.

I am really torn between wanting to downvote this as having no place in LW and going against the politics-talk-taboo, and wanting to upvote it for being a clear, fair and to the point summary of ideological differences I find fascinating.

This forum needs to find a way to talk about politics with a cool head. This post is a good example of how to do so.

I think the central question here is, simply put, to what extent should we allow ourselves to participate in politics. Seeing as we are already participating in group discussion, let's assume a political dimension to our dialogue exists with or without our explicit agreement on the subject.

That having been said, I applaud the author for summarizing so many topics of political debate associated with the neoreactionary school. I feel like this conversation has been derailed to some extent by questions of whether the author has represented his sources accurat... (read more)


I don't know enough about neoreaction to say whether your descriptions are accurate, but I can definitively say that to the extent "progressivism" cuts political reality at its joints at all (it mostly doesn't), everything in this post is a massive strawman of "progressivism".

Worried about "white extinction"? Stop worrying - more people are signing up to be white than ever before!

Why are you equivocating between the biological grouping and the social grouping?
Because the "biological grouping" isn't one. It's been a social grouping all along. You realise that groups have joined and left "white" at different times over the past few centuries, right? The historical definitions of races are amazing stuff. The Wikipedia article is a good start (and I link that in particular because you can be sure it's been closely inspected by all interested sides).

A century ago I would not have been 'white' - I'd be hopelessly ethnic.

Half-Italian-half-Polish with a dash of ashkenazi jewish five generations back? Waaaaay down in the caste system of even 1930. Nowadays? Just another white guy.

That's like arguing that because the line between "dog" and "wolf" is socially constructed, there's no need to worry if one's chihuahua is replaced by a timber wolf, or saying that because the Greeks thought of water as a basic substance, "hydrogen" is actually a social grouping. It's true in the trivial sense that every grouping humans refer to is in some sense a social grouping, but that doesn't alter the underlying biology. Think of it as lumpers and splitters in action - disagreements over where to draw the boundary of a group don't change the characteristics of group members.
Wolf brains produce way more adrenaline than dog brains on a regular basis. That is one reason why wolves are likely to be far less predictably docile, even if you raise one from a pup onward. That is why you still have to be careful around a tame wolf. Domestication is different than taming. Taming involves conditioning an animal's behavior; domestication involves breeding actual genetic/physiological changes. Do we have evidence that whites and non-whites have different average levels of certain neurotransmitters? Are there actual gross physiological differences in white and non-write brains? If so, then there is more than just social-construction at work. If not, then social-construction is all there is. I don't think all of this is just a semantic game.
Well we certainly have evidence that they behave differently. I don't know about neurotransmitters (I'm guessing the experiment hasn't been performed, imagine trying to get approval for it), also I don't see why the exact details of the causal mechanism matter here.
The experiments have been performed. For instance, this dopamine receptor has a single nucleotide polymorphism that emerged in the middle east 40000 years ago (and therefore has very different prevalence across ethnic groups) and causes ADHD. There is a just-so evolutionary argument that states that as humanity spread out from Africa, novelty-seeking becomes advantageous as people adapt to new environments. This novelty-seeking is then pathologised as ADHD in the modern world.
Because they could allow us to predict which kinds of interventions would have which effects.

Well, it's perfectly obvious that as soon as convenient and cheap birth control becomes widely available, then many people will not have children. This reduces the birthrate. HOWEVER, the people that do have children will have been, on average, self-selected. And one thing you can be sure of, they will be over-represented in the psychological category of "People who really like kids"

That being the case, one has to assume that all our descendents, ultimately, will be extremely philoprogenic. Because all the people that deliberately don'... (read more)

I seem to recall defending monarchy back in '12:


The point of reaction is thus:

Conservatism and liberalism are each spectrums of political ideas: conservatism is based on correspondence to the logic underlying reality, liberalism is based on projection of the logic of the human mind and its desires.

Thus liberalism clusters all of its ideas around the notion of "equality" where conservatism focuses on consequences; this is why we might draw a line between preference-based ut... (read more)

That is the falsest of dichotomies,since you need both facts and values to make decisions.